A Partial Capo Is Not A Weapon

Gotta share this because it’s just too weird. I went on vacation to Europe a couple weeks ago (the day after the Berkeley show, actually) and on the way home I had to check my guitar as baggage. When I finally got it back at the end of my trip, some gear from the little box compartment inside was loose in the case, indicating that it had been rifled through by security people.

Two items were missing: a partial capo and an empty tin of ginger Altoids which I use to store metal fingerpicks. I’ve had my string clippers taken from me in the past because, ok, they are technically a kind of scissor. But how is a tiny round clamp with rubber on the ends a safety hazard?

Maybe my banjo fingerpicks looked like claws, but come on, they were in a piece of checked luggage. Even if it were possible to harm someone with fingerpicks or a capo, I couldn’t have gotten to them during the flight.

I think what really happened was my baggage screener in Poland was a part-time folk musician and couldn’t resist lifting some shwag when he saw my supercool partial capo and ginger-scented picks.

Or maybe it’s the ghost of John Fahey trying to get me to retune my guitar to DADGAD instead of using capo gadgets to simulate the effect. Phantom folk purists and air security personnel, I defy you both!

I ordered replacement gear from Elderly Music today and the next time I fly overseas, I’m carrying it on board in my pocket.

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