Knife on a Plane

I know what you’re thinking. Who in their right mind tries to take a knife on an airplane? As it turns out, I do. It was an accident of course. It’s not like I’m one of these paranoids walking around packing heat or edged weapons in preparation for the coming race wars, zombie apocalypse or an invasion from North Korea.

I have no desire to open carry or have my name recorded onto a concealed weapon permit. I don’t even own one of those belt-riding Leatherman things. Hell, I wouldn’t wear pants in public if I could get away with it — but I digress.

I do like knives and always have. I’m not sure when the actual “collection” process began but the knife in question is one of the first additions. It’s a Kershaw 2410 and if you know anything about knives, or even if you don’t, I’ll just tell you, it’s a pretty good, high-quality knife. The 2410 can be opened with one hand, the blade locks and the handle is aluminum, so it’s very light. I think I paid about $50 for it. The model is now out of production but I just saw a used one on eBay for $40.

Kershaws come with a lifetime guarantee, which includes sharpening, which mine desperately needs. When I first got it, I could shave with this bad mamma-jamma. Mine is too old to have a cool name but the new ones all bear some kind of badass handle including “Drone,” “Turbulence,” “Cryo II” or “Thermite.” I’m not making these up — check the website.

So, I had my trusty but needs sharpening 2410 in my briefcase that I used to take to the office when I had an actual job. Why take the knife into the office? In case I wanted to stab somebody, of course. Kidding. I’m just kidding. I used it to cut things including stubborn cellophane wrappers on videotapes, super sealed envelopes and other troublesome packaging. So I had the knife in the secret inside pocket of my briefcase and I forgot about until I was standing in the security line at BWI getting ready to board a flight to Portland, Oregon.

So, what to do? Ummmm, I decided to try and sneak it through. I bought this knife probably ten years ago in a little shop in Sausalito. Even been there? Nice, right? I think it was Sausalito. Anyway, the point is, I’ve had this knife a long freeking time and I’m not about to get out of the security line and look for a place in the airport to hide it for a week until I come back and risk some bozo finding it. So I say nothing as I watch the briefcase slide into the magnetometer.

I try to look nonchalant as I partially disrobe of shoes, belt, wallet, keys, pens, smokes, raise my arms and proceed forward as the TSA guy comes up to me and says, “sir, is there a chance that you might have something sharp in your briefcase?” I resist the urge to tell him that I have a knife in there but it’s actually not that sharp.

“You know what?” I say, “I think I may have a small knife in my briefcase.”

“Would you know right where it is in there?”

“Oh yes. I know exactly where it is.”

I open the zipper, reach into the hidden inside pocket, pull out the 2410, gaze upon it’s loveliness for what I fear will be the last time, feel the smooth metal that is interrupted by the black rubber grip, heft it’s slight weight and hand it to the evil TSA man who I’m sure is about to toss it mercilessly into a nearby trash can. “Goodbye old friend,” I hear in my head, “I shall miss you, terribly.”

“So, you have two choices,” says TSA. “We can put this back in your briefcase and check the briefcase under the plane or you can mail the knife to yourself for $14.”

Wait. What?

My mind turns his words over and over trying to understand their true meaning. The briefcase holds my laptop, books, pens, notebooks, and other assorted items designed to keep me amused for a six hour, cross-country airplane ride. “I don’t want to check the briefcase. What did you say about mailing?”

“You fill out this form, put in your credit card number and we mail it back to you. It costs $14.”


Once the trip is over, I return home with a hawk eye trained on my mailbox. Weeks go by. I double-check my receipt from the TSA. Could they not read my address? Does the 7 look like a 1? I re-read the form. It says allow 10 to 14 business days. My knife is lost. I’m inconsolable. My life as I know it, is over. Those TSA bastards tricked me again.

The phone rings. It’s a Baltimore number I don’t recognize. They haven’t mailed the knife because the credit card number doesn’t work. What? I use that card for everything, I can’t believe….oh wait. That was the American Express card that I left in the seafood restaurant on the Oregon Coast. AmEx overnighted me a new card that (of course!) has a new number.

Joy is mine! I pull out the new card, read the number into the phone and sure enough, within 10 to 14 business days, the 2410 returns — still in need of sharpening.

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