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Opening Arguments

But irony is only a misdemeanor

Favorite line of the day so far: ". . . when sarcasm is considered a felony."

An Arizona man who was arrested at the behest of the TSA, following a wisecrack over a jar of peanut butter is suing the federal agency for $5 million.

Frank Hannibal, 50, was detained and dragged from LaGuardia Airport recently by police after a run-in with TSA agents over the jar of gourmet sandwich spread.

“The liquid oil that separated from the peanut butter had them baffled,” Hannibal told the New York Daily News.

Hannibal then commented to his wife and children that “They’re looking to confiscate my explosives,” as TSA agents inspected the 16-ounce jar of “Crazy Richards” chunky peanut butter.

TSA screener Edwin Sanchez, overheard Hannibal’s remark, did not see the funny side, and immediately called the cops, according to the court complaint.

[. . .]

“It’s a sorry state of affairs in this country when sarcasm is considered a felony,” his attorney, Alan D. Levine of Queens, noted, adding that TSA agents need to act with common sense in such situations.

Well, of course, the screener did not see the funny side. Officious little functionaries don't see the humor in anything. It has to be said, though, that Hannibal is being a little clueless here. There are certain situations in which humor is not appreciated, as many people who've jokingly yelled "Hi, Jack!" on a airplane have learned.

The story later reports that during his 24 hours in a cell, Hannibal was fed a peanut butter sandwich. Now, that's funny.