Saturday, August 19, 2006

Orange Alert

On my way back from Chicago today after participating in another fun-packed edition of Wait, Wait - Don't Tell Me. Roy Blount Jr and Paula Poundstone were the other panelists. Paula won for her third time in over five years owing in large part to my participation and the fact that Roy was distracted from having his deodorant confiscated by airport security. I am at O'Hare airport as I write this. There are frequent announcements to remind us that we are at a Code Orange terror alert and to watch out. Code Orange means you walk around with your eyes kind of squinty or your arms elevated in a defensive posture, as if you are watching somebody about to light a firecracker. Otherwise there is nothing you can really do except give up your water bottles, gel deodorants (Yes, that means you, Roy), colognes and toothpaste. Perhaps we are safer. We are certainly earthier smelling.
Hardly anything makes sense about these security procedures, but one thing stands out head and shoulder above the rest in utter incomprehensibility: You know those Dell laptop batteries that are prone to burst into flames without warning? You can still bring those on the airplane.
Remember -- squinty eyes, squinty eyes.


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