A recent column I wrote about being on the receiving end of a full-body pat-down and having to hide my trusty Swiss Army knife in the bushes just to enjoy a night on the town listening to a couple of bands at a music hall spurred a number of readers to share similar experiences.
I will now pass along a few of those, lightly edited for publication in a family newspaper. Some people have a more colorful vocabulary than others. (Yes, I am talking about you, Roscoe.)
Here is a quick recap of that column from October: I went to a music venue I frequented for years and was, for the first time ever, searched for weapons in an invasive pat-down that closely resembled a medical procedure.
I left the AK-47 at home, but the hands-on security specialist determined I was still a menace to society because of the small Swiss Army knife clipped to my keys. He advised me to hide it in the bushes and hope it was still there after the show. I did, it was, and I vowed to never return to that music hall unless Elvis himself rose from the grave for a free show and an open bar.
After that column made the rounds, Larry from Morganton emailed me about his experience.
“I enjoy your columns in the News Herald, and the Swiss Army knife story hit close to home. While taking a business trip to Florida, I was tagged as a ‘frequent flyer’ — facing the indignity of removing my shoes and a thorough search of luggage and pants pockets. Of course I, being a good Southern boy, had my trusty ‘tool’ in my pocket, a gift from my oldest son. And you know what happened. Confiscated! On another trip I hid my second Swiss Army knife in a side pocket of my luggage. That too was confiscated.
“Afterwards, I have imagined many times that my little knives lay in a basket among hundreds of knives big and small. Were they traded to a pawnshop? Melted down into a glob? You know, they could have offered to sell me a mailing pouch so I could have mailed it home. I miss those Swiss Army knives (but now have a couple of others). Somewhat strange, however, is to learn years later (was that a movie or a CIA operative on the news?) that a simple ballpoint pen is potentially as deadly as any small pocketknife! So there, TSA. Deal with that.”
My old buddy and former colleague Mike from Winston-Salem reached out as well.
“I was able to get my mini-Mace on my key ring in the door a few nights ago to see John Prine after completely forgetting to leave it in the car. Which reminds me of a wonderful song (not by John Prine) … ‘Doobie in My Pocket’ by Keller Williams. If you haven’t heard it, slap a Google on it.”
I did slap a Google on it and determined that Mike gives good advice, whether armed or not.
Rusty shared his experience in a Facebook post.
“I was at a Panthers game a few years ago and they patted my 10-year-old down like he was on the no-fly list. Later in the game, two people rappelled down the side of the upper deck to the lower deck. He went full Sandusky on my kid, but they somehow let climbing gear get through security.”
Yes, but at least the crowd was safe from penknives and stray doobies.
And finally, that brings us to Roscoe and a story involving several quarts of non-tax-paid liquor, a high-speed chase and a cold, damp jail cell in a small town in eastern Tennessee. It’s a lively tale, but due to an uncertainty about the statute of limitations on many of the details related to me, it must remain, at this point, untold.
Thanks to everyone who responded, and thanks to everyone for reading, even Roscoe.