Copyright 1994 David C. Daye

Posted in 1994 on the Bagpipe Mailing List

This is a true story in which I was a participant.

Olle Gallmo wrote,

>Anyway, except playing the swedish bagpipes I also play the saw
>now and then. I carry it around in a case which looks very much
>like a gun case. I've always wondered what would happen if I show
>up on Gatwick with it. Is it possible to hijack an airplane with a saw?

You laugh now. Here's a little U.S. airport story:

Some years ago I was flying out-of-state to visit family, had my Highland bagpipes in a backpack along with my reed kit which included a mandrel made from an ice pick (the sharp point broken off and filed dull). When it went through the scanner I heard the words "uh-oh...."

Security came over to give me A Little Talk about the ice pick. I jammed it repeatedly onto my tongue to demonstrate its safety, but Security insisted that if someone were tapped in the back with it, where the nerves aren't very discriminating, they'd have to assume it was sharp, thus it could be used for nefarious purposes. Plane was waiting, the mandrel had to stay behind.

Well standing behind me was Mr. Drunk Businessman and his wife. Mr. B. half-shouts, "Jeeeeez, honey, sure hope you didn't pack my GUN!!"

Mrs. B started to say "Honey...."

She was interrupted by four huge grey-suited sunglass-wearing androids, who picked up Mr. B. by the armpits and lofted him several feet so that he was eye-to-eye with the overhead sign which announced that merely joking about weapons in a U.S. airport is against the law. They scanned him past each of the words, meticulously, returned him to armpit altitude and carried him round the corner, legs still dangling uselessly, for a brief question-and-answer period.

Mr. B. was very quiet thereafter. Reed tools now travel in the baggage compartment, which is probably the best place for musical saws as well.


"When mandrels are outlawed, only outlaws will be in tune?" -- James Mattis

Return to David Daye's Bagpipe Page