The Cargo Cult Erects Monuments

Should I have entertained any lingering suspicion that the permissive treatment I recieved at the Freer Gallery, at odds with the written policy hanging before my eyes, was some kind of anomaly, it was dispelled at the Museum of Natural History.

Like the Freer Gallery, the museum greeted visitors with a placard expressly forbidding weapons. (I don’t carry the knife for use as a weapon, but it’s pretty hard to argue that three inches of honed steel couldn’t be put to offensive use by one with the right inclination.) It also forbade food. Finally, it required that visitors pass through a metal detector before entering the museum. Figuring that we were well beyond the gray area, I put the knife in the bag containing our dim sum and handed the bag to the attending guard.

He poked disinterestedly at the food containers and handed the whole thing back to me. Shrugging, I returned the knife to my back pocket and walked through the detector. Some understanding of the game’s rules was beginning to dawn, and so I wasn’t entirely surprised when it let me through without a hiccough. I did have to wonder just how much metal I would need to carry before raising a red flag, but never mind.

The gemstone and mineral exhibit was impressive, although the entomological section was disappointing. (All the exhibits were dead. Dead, dead, dead. I’ve seen more impressive living specimens at the Memphis zoo, and more impressive dead ones on the walls of Celina’s co-worker‘s office.)

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