“You have to remember one thing about the will of the people: it wasn’t that long ago that we were swept away by the Macarena.” Jon Stewart, American political satirist
Journalists may need to whisk in and out of government buildings with metal detectors at any time. While certain unmentionables have caused me no end of trouble, I have not once had a question about my knife. It’s been in courtrooms, on state Senate floors and deep inside the kind of federal buildings that can shoot spike strips out of the ground to disable a vehicle.
Perhaps the X-ray operators just can’t “see” it given the sheer mass of stuff I have in my purse. Or, perhaps a writer with glasses and big hair just doesn’t look like the kind who is likely to lunge threateningly at anybody. (Which anyone who’s seen such a person writing on deadline knows is not entirely true.)
Truthfully, even malefactors have little to fear from my knife. One, it is ridiculously tiny — useful only for mundane tasks such as cutting errant threads off clothing or slicing a veggie wrap in half. Two, it is buried so deeply in my purse — tucked under a flash drive and the emergency whistle that reflects an early childhood spent in earthquake territory — that it takes far too long to find to be a defensive weapon.
(Actually, bad guys should beware of my purse. I could take out a couple of them with one swing.)
That said, I will be leaving Little Red, my petite Swiss army knife, behind the next time I go to such a place. It’s just becoming too much of an issue. Banned from flights. Banned from all government buildings. And, now, frowned upon by entire governments.
I learned recently that slightly larger knives are no longer welcome in any public place across the entire U.K. The entire U.K. Carrying a knife larger than three inches can lead to a fine or, for repeat offenders, a prison term up to four years.
Who knew? Yes, Little Red simply has to go. I will have to get by with my pen — which is not particularly useful for cutting veggie wraps, but, as everyone knows, is mightier than the, well, pocket knife.