Dodging Bullets

The past couple of years, I haven’t done much travel off the island. I, however, recently made a single-day business trip to a Neighbor Island. You would have thought I was going to Disneyland, as I started planning days ahead.

Although there would be no luggage, I mapped out with great accuracy all the things I was going to bring with me on my flight. I emptied out a backpack so I wouldn’t start out with any kind of contraband items, like a pocket knife, or any items that could be deemed weapons. It was mostly to carry my electronics, a laptop and an iPad. I wasn’t clear on where TSA stands in regard to liquids, so I left my bottle of Scotch at home — just kidding.

The morning of my flight, I left really early, as I didn’t know if the three-hour pre-arrival rule was still in place. That meant my family pretty much was still in bed when I left the house. Of course, I had a cup of coffee, and because I didn’t pack a toothbrush and toothpaste, I looked around for some breath mints or gum.

Our 17-year-old daughter is a voracious gum-chewer, so I grabbed her package of gum. I arrived at the airport and stood in the security line for access to the gate. It was fairly crowded, and right when I was in the middle of the line, my cell phone rang.

It was my daughter. She asked, “Dad, did you take my Grenades?” Unsure of what I heard, I asked her to say again. She said, “Dad, did you take my Grenades gum?” In case you don’t know, Grenades gum is a new local brand of chewing gum that’s pretty powerful in an Altoids kind of way. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about people joking in the TSA line about bombs or guns, so I suddenly was worried that I would have to show the contents of my pockets.

I decided to let the gum “accidentally” fall out of my pocket. There was a young kid behind me, who picked it up and loudly exclaimed, “You dropped your Grenades!” I looked at the airport security personnel and was relieved that they didn’t hear that. I made it through OK, despite nearly having a nervous breakdown.

I wondered why they couldn’t name candies like the old days, but then remembered … I used to chew Bazooka bubble gum.