I smoke a pipe once and a while, much to my wife and daughter’s chagrin. I am a geek about it. It helps me keep lying to myself about my innate uniqueness. I smoke an artisan blend called Black Stoker mixed by Uhle’s in downtown Milwaukee. My pipes themselves were not cheap, though I am assured that corncob is the best for actually comparing tobaccos due to its neutrality. I also have a rare Zippo pipe lighter.
I took these accouterments to Japan for the first time last month. On my shuttle from Fukuoka to Tokyo on the 28th, I was stopped by the x-ray guy who proceeded to ask me if there was a lighter in my checked bag. I allowed that there was, having packed the aforementioned Zippo there instead of my carryon so I couldn’t light my shoe. He said that I would have to carry it on.
"Is it really OK to carry it on?"
"Yes. You only have one, right? You are allowed only one."
"I only have one."
I had it in my overcoat pocket as I approached security upstairs, more than half expecting all heck to break loose. I didn’t mention it to anyone (it didn’t want to lose my uniqueness) and nothing happened. I’m still not sure whether to be relieved or concerned.