The terrorists have won

I’m in the middle of several weeks of back-to-back travel: south Florida and Orlando are complete, and Montreal, Quebec is this week. After consciously and overtly breaking TSA rules, I decided to try and be a reformed traveler after they relaxed the ban on carry-on liquids and gels. In doing so, I’ve had to eliminate two items because of their size: 1) cologne, which usually just took up space and remained unused in my toiletry bag –and- 2) aftershave, but the hotel room lotion is an acceptable substitute.

Since the relaxed carry-on ban, my trips through security have been uneventful with the exception of a late-night flight from ATL to FLL when Hulk Hogan and his daughter were immediately behind me in the security line. If you’ve only seen him on TV, it doesn’t do his size justice. He’s big—really, really big. The other thing that doesn’t come through on TV is that he’s really old. He obviously has some replacement parts made of metal because after stripping down he still sent the metal detector off and had to go through additional screening. Seeing a 5’4” skinny kid wand the 6’+ Hulk Hogan was pretty funny. I went for my digital camera to try and snap a picture, but the camera took 2 seconds too long to open the shutter and charge the flash so I missed the moment. Sometimes low-tech 35mm IS the best solution.

Well today I decided to get to the airport early for my flight to Montreal so that I could check my bag since it was an international flight. And planning to check my bag, I put the cologne and aftershave back with my toiletries. As often happens, though, I was 15 minutes late out the door which translates into 30 minutes later arriving at The Parking Spot because of the additional traffic the closer it gets to rush hour. When the shuttle van dropped me off at Hartsfield it was 55 minutes before my flight, and international flights have a 1 hour cutoff for checked baggage. It was time to revert back to my felonious ways and pocket my cologne and aftershave. The deodorant, hair gel, toothpaste, and shampoo all went into my quart-size Ziploc bag.

Things went well going through security until they stopped the belt and asked, “Whose bag is this?” Seeing the red tub of hair gel, I went to claim it, but it was then I realized the terrorists have won. Despite having made it through security on 4 other occasions, my deodorant was deemed to be a threat to the safety of passengers and crew because it was 4 oz. rather than the 3 oz. limit. I tried to argue that because I’d been using that particular stick of gel deodorant for over a month that surely there was less than 4 oz. remaining, but all my argument did was confuse the poor guy so I gave up that small fight to win the bigger battle. As I took the escalator down to the underground shuttles for my A terminal destination, I slipped the bottle of cologne and aftershave into my bag.

Fortunately you can rest easy knowing the brave TSA associates fighting on the front-line in our global struggle against terrorism thwarted my attempted security breach. But that will be their last win against me. The next time I go through security with toiletries, I’ll be sure to sail through by pocketing the deodorant too.