The TSA has reluctantly conceded that new, never-used Zippo lighters are not a threat when placed in your checked baggage. This doesn’t help people who wish to travel with lighters that have ever been lit, even if they’re empty and sealed in the cargo hold, but it’s a minor step back from the idiot’s abyss that is modern airport security.
Before this landmark ruling, someone had tried to board a plane with a toy digicam that fits into a Zippo case. He failed; the camera was okay, but the Zippo case was not, even though it contained no actual lighter components.
This is obviously an instance of the creeping abuse of “screener’s discretion”; it doesn’t have to be on the banned list, it just has to get the attention of a flunky who doesn’t have to take responsibility for his decisions.
So I found myself wondering, what would happen if people started aggressively pursuing alternative contents for Zippos? After all, their primary charm for many people is not so much the ability to make fire; Zippos are Americana in action, often granted sentimental value far in excess of their price tag.
What could you fit in a Zippo case? At first I considered gadgets like that digicam, such as a voice recorder, but then it hit me:
What better way for a sexually-active adult to safely, securely transport this modern necessity? The factory packaging is a tight squeeze, but the item itself is the perfect size. It would be trivial to make a plastic insert that snugly held two unwrapped condoms, ready for use at the flick of a wrist.
Careful fitting would make it possible to claim the conversion was permanent, making it more difficult to allow the contents while denying the case. And, if all else fails and they decide to screw you over, well, you could ask them to put one on first.