Here’s a basic outline of my mental tapestry when I fly: What is the latest time I can arrive at the gate and still make my flight, so as to avoid the general flying public at all costs? Is there a smoking section at the airport? Does TSA worry about the spread of athletes foot at security? I mean, look at that dude’s feet over there! Gross, just stay away from me, man. Can I have the can, too?
What I don’t worry about is what to pack—because I just pack it all. Three-day weekend? I’ll need 7 pairs of drawers, give or take, right? Just in case? Flight delayed, I’ll wash the pesticides off an apple and bring it with to munch on at the gate. I’ve tried to join the pack-light club, but packing light is for losers with nostalgia for backpacking in their 20s. Which is why I can appreciate this recent exchange between the human beings who felt it necessary to have the finer, more important questions in life answered: you know, those about gefilte fish.
@AskTSA Good morning. I have a large unopened can of fish. Can I take this as carry-on? Thanks. pic.twitter.com/it7r9hgfLr
— Ron B (@ron58278) July 31, 2016
TSA’s very active Twitter-response account replied that it was probably best if Ron put it in his checked bag, because one can never be too sure about what dangerous materials are packed into Mrs. Adler’s 14-piece institutional pack of gefilte fish.
Many questions arise from this exchange. Is Ron B a bot? Let’s assume no, for a minute. This means that Ron B is a human being who felt it was an imperative to travel with cans of Mrs. Adler’s gefilte fish, and created a Twitter account just so the TSA could advise him how best to travel with a can of gefilte fish. Maybe it was a gift for somebody—who knows? Or maybe Ron B wanted to mow on some gefilte fish straight outta the can, thank you very much. Either way, this makes Ron B a top-10 human being on the planet. He can crack the top five if he tweets out baggies of steamy cholent next.
Jonathan Zalman, a staff editor, runs The Scroll, Tablet’s news blog.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.