Social engineering vs. security theater

Crabs in MauiFor a cross-country flight, I packed a lunch of deconstructed sandwiches. Slices of homemade walnut bread, a handful of arugula, a tomato, and a repurposed deli-container full of homemade crab salad. The crab salad was moist with mayo, lemon, and chopped apple. Spreadable, if not quite liquid, mostly filling an 8 oz container.

I didn’t expect it to pass security, so I was ready with Plan B: I’d back out of the security area, construct the sandwiches, and try again with the less-dense contraband.

So I’m pushing my carry-on along to the scanner belt when the TSA man on the x-ray calls for assistance. “Log-jam,” he says.

“They’re moving now,” I say, having straightened someone else’s bag. Mine goes through.

“I’m just trying to keep her busy [wink],” the TSA agent says, jerking his chin toward his colleague as she inspects the flow of bags.

I lock eyes with him. “Good strategy,” I wink back, and he doesn’t even glance at the screen as my bags sail through, crab salad and all.

Ah, social engineering vs. security theater. I love it.

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