[meteorite-list] Airport Security, Brenham, and Hammerheads (funny?)
From: Martin Horejsi <accretiondesk_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Feb 6 14:10:45 2006
I had a funny thing happen as I was flying out from Tucson Sunday
evening. Apparently one of the items banned from carry-on luggage is a
hammer. I usually don't carry one with me when I fly so I was unaware
of this restriction. However, I do agree with the TSA in their
decision. You know, Maxwell and all.
Anyway, it happened that I bought a hammerhead from Steve Arnold of
Brenham Meteorite fame. The hammerhead was one of the non-meteorite
artifacts that Steve extracted from the rich Kansas soil in his quest
for rocks from space.
Since I was saving my money for the Lang and Blood auctions, I passed
on Steve's Brenham main mass and instead bought the hammerhead. Plus I
figured, it would be easier to fly home with given the picky check-in
clerks who weigh everything.
So when my hammerhead lit up the airport x-ray machine, the frown on
the security guy was enough to tell me that maybe these TSA folks in
Tucson had not seen it all.
I helped agent locate the hammer amongst other interesting objects
including some large cactus pedals with extremely small and sharp
spines courtesy to a visit to Geoff N's home. The agent unwrapped the
hammer and studied it. Being who I am, I launched into an educational
presentation about Steve Arnold, about the Brenham meteorite and about
its amazing discovery. I would have used a PowerPoint on the nice
white walls of the security hall, but the x-ray machines had used up
all the electrical outlets.
As I tried to explain the significance of the hammerhead, the agent,
let's call him Mr. Deer-in-the-headlights, stared at me likely
assessing my mental profile. He had never heard of the famous
meteorite, Steve Arnold, nor it appears, meteorites in general. Lucky,
the passengers surrounding me had, and were excited about it as they
pelted me with questions straining see the hammerhead!
The glaze over Mr. Dith's eyes lifted, and he referred my case to the
head of security. It was at that moment that I played my trump card.
When I bought the hammerhead from Steve, he wrote up a Certificate of
Authenticity which I produced for the head security agent.
This particular agent sat a desk and studied the hammer and the COA.
After a minute or two, he pronounced the hammerhead not a hammer since
there was no handle. Instead, it was a historic artifact and perfectly
acceptable as a carry-on. I thanked him kindly, and wished I had given
him one of Steve's postcards as a gift.
So, should anyone be flying out of Tucson post this reading, and
departing from one of the lower numbered gates, if you could leave a
copy of Steve's fabulous postcard on the security desk, I would
Here is a link to the hammer and COA.
Received on Mon 06 Feb 2006 02:10:25 PM PST