NNWM: Department of Homeland Toiletries

Elmo doesn’t shave…

We pre-shipped the booth for my current trip — hopefully the last trip until Reno in January — giving me the rare opportunity to travel without having to check baggage. After a brief daydream of what I could do with the extra two hours of my life not spent in baggage claim, I realized that the Department of Improbable Events had instituted new and improved measures to confound infrequent travelers. In particular, my toiletries fit into the ANSI-standard clear, one-quart, “zip top” baggie, but the can of Barbasol shaving cream was a terror condition-Elmo eleven ounces. (Note to reader: opaque, gallon-sized, fold-over bags are prohibited. And if you have to even ask about leather satchels…) Luckily, Target sells two-ounce containers of shaving cream for a dollar. Net life not spent in baggage claim or shopping for stupid-sized products: one hour, fifteen minutes, still positive!

Kiri had the brilliantly funny idea that TSA could be self-funded by selling the items it confiscates. The new advertising would be something like “Exciting pre-owned grooming aids are available for purchase at the cash-only Toiletry Store located conveniently beyond the secure zone of Terminal B!” Some of the other ideas we kicked around:

  • The TSA Tip Jar. Slide the agent a Benjamin, and you’ll glide through the short line of frequent travelers familiar with the new rule of the week. If you don’t tip appropriately, you may find the metal detector jacked up to subatomic, filling vibrating resolution as a reminder. If you still forget the gratuity, you’ll hear the snap of latex gloves being donned in unison — you’re about to become the focal point of a Homeland Security Overreaction. Helpful rule of thumb: $1 per minute is an appropriate start.
  • Smarte Binse, a subsidiary of Smarte Carte, is now in the plastic X-ray container business. Cleverly priced at $0.25 each or three for a dollar! Exact change, please.
  • Steel containers will be prohibited because theoretically with access to an adequate heat source — say, any full airplane with the air conditioning turned off — the metal could be re-forged into a spork whose tines are pointy enough to impale the slippery, chicken-like protein globule in the in-flight nutritional supplement you just paid eight bucks for.
  • Also banned: black, rectangular and wheeled baggage. Why? Because they all look alike when flying down the carousel at bullet-like speeds. Besides, there was an unsubstantiated rumor that black, rectangular bags with wheels are favored by non-tipping terrorists using four-ounce bottles of toiletries for nefarious purposes.