News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

September 20, 2011

LIZ CIANCONE: Rules would be fine, if they made more sense

I was pleased to read that the Department of Homeland Security plans to ease up on airport checkpoints. Not for the likes of you and me, but there will be no more “pat downs” of small children. Wee ones won’t even have to take off their shoes.

This good news comes too late to help me when I was mothering two sons only two-and-a-half years apart. Neither was very cooperative about clothes, but at least that was in pre-security days. We did have a bit of a delay when Number Two son’s luggage was opened upon a return from overseas. He had purchased a Nazi dagger and, until it was acknowledged as a war relic, he spent a few anxious moments.

So the new checkpoint rules come too late to help me out, but it would be nice if the rules made sense and, more especially, if they applied equally at all airports.

My Best Friend and I must have had a memory lapse when we decided to fly to Pensacola to celebrate a significant family birthday. We had forgotten the horrors of a trip shortly after 9/11 and figured the security folks had the bugs in the system ironed out. Alas!

We coasted through security in Indianapolis with relative ease. Oh, we had to take our shoes off and that’s not as easy as it once was. Our carry-on was X-rayed, we had the full-body X-ray and my BF was singled out for a pat down. So far, so good and no more security checks until coming home.

A zealous security man at the Pensacola airport was fixated on my BF. Our carry-on got the full probe. He pawed through prescriptions and finally produced some suspicious stuff to be confiscated: a half-full container of body lotion (mine), a few ounces of aftershave (my BF’s) and a half-empty tube of toothpaste (ours). The toothpaste was in a plastic sandwich bag, but it had originally weighed in at four ounces and anything over 3.5 ounces was forbidden. They didn’t weigh the leftovers.

Somewhere in a Pensacola, Fla., landfill you will find body lotion, aftershave and toothpaste. So, how did a full four ounces of toothpaste pass the drill in Indianapolis?

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com.

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