At this point in American history, you’d think that people knew what they were doing at airports. I mean, sure, we’ve all accidentally brought a pen knife or – heaven forfend! – a little too much mouthwash in our luggage.
But it’s a different story for 28-year-old Joseph Picklo, of Dallas, Pa., who’s charged with trying to get through security at Philadelphia International Airport early Thursday with a bottle of flash powder and some M-80 fireworks in his carry-on bag.
Picklo reportedly told officers that he didn’t know the explosive materials were in the bag, and I’m actually inclined to believe him. Now that people can turn shoes and shampoo bottles into lethal firepower, a handful of M-80s doesn’t even count as a sporting terrorist effort.
Maybe an ex-friend slipped it in there. Or maybe Picklo just walks around so often with firecrackers that he kind of forgets about them sometimes. I knew guys like that in high school.
Still, between that and the JetBlue pilot who allegedly went bat-guano nutzoid during a flight to Vegas Tuesday, we should review the basic rules of air travel etiquette:
* The scariest thing you can talk about in an airport is religion. It is also the scariest thing you can talk about on a date, over any kind of intercom system, or pretty much anywhere else except at church and in the end zone at playoff games.
* Once you’ve agreed to give up liberty for security, you really can’t complain once the rules stop making sense. “I’ve got to take off my belt and my shoes, I can’t bring a water bottle and my laptop gets its own scanning bin?!” Yes, yes and yes. Now shut up.
* Inspect your bag before you go. Your stupid friends or your stupid kids may have added firecrackers or porn or a cricket.
* In order to maintain decorum during the flight, please remember that your personality is not improved by alcohol, prescription medications, hallucinogens or even self-help books. It is only improved by finding the right woman and having her tell you day-after-day what’s wrong with you.
* The man sitting next to you wearing the turban is not a terrorist. We have seen a great many attackers and would-be bombers by now, and to my knowledge, none of them were actually wearing turbans at the airport. This may surprise you, but people who want to kill everybody usually try to pass unnoticed. No, the guy in the turban may actually be Hindu. He is also married and has a thoroughly improved personality.
* Let me put this as delicately as I can: You’re not funny. Your jokes about underwear bombs do not charm the TSA officers. Now step over here for a cavity search.