Is airport security just a massive prank played on us by our reptilian overlords? The biggest threats to America's airports recently: underpants bombs, wrong-way smoochers and bottles of honey. And now: sword canes. Yes, canes with swords in them.

But wait: Aren't sword canes only carried by Romantic poets and villains in Bond movies? According to the Wall Street Journal, they are also wielded (unwittingly) by 78 year-old retired deli owners on their way to visit their relatives in Seattle:

As Transportation Security Administration officers examined the cane, they discovered it had a special feature hidden within: a 16-inch sword.

"It was so interesting," Mr. Sanjideh said of the cane, which his wife bought for him at a flea market. "I didn't know it had a sword in it."

Indeed it is very "interesting" that your cane had a massive sword in it, Sanjideh! TSA agents questioned him and let him go (sans sword cane) after being convinced he was just some old dude who didn't know his cane had a sword in it—not a devious, geriatric dandy-terrorist. So, that's funny, some old guy had a sword cane. Ha ha, what a weird one-time incident... Digg it or post it on your Facebook wall or something. But wait!

Since 2002, TSA screeners have found more than 200 canes concealing either swords or knives. Many of these incidents involve elderly travelers who are just as surprised as the security screeners to find sabers hidden inside canes they may have inherited, found at antique shops, or received from charities. In September alone, four such incidents occurred according to documents provided by the TSA.

200 sword canes in less than ten years! Remember: It only takes one granny accidentally slipping on a plane with a sword cane and then a terrorist who is also on the plane realizes that the cane has a sword in it and uses the sword to hijack the plane. JUST ONE. (And you can forget ever getting your hands on an official Conde Nast Traveler Sword Cane.)

Here are some of the other impressive weapons the TSA has found hidden in canes:

  • A 2 1/2-inch knife at San Diego International Airport
  • A 13-inch sword at Philadelphia International Airport
  • A "double-sided metal blade more than 2 feet long" at San Antonio International Airport
  • An 18-inch blade at Buffalo Niagra International Airport

Sword canes. This only makes sense when you pull back and consider the absurd theater that is airport security circa January 10th, 2010:

An accessory popular with aristocratic gentlemen of the 1800s is freaking out TSA screeners nationwide; German privacy advocates go through airport security in their underwear; James Carville urges the TSA to measure his penis; underwear is exploding; travelers describe their private part pat downs in detail in the Times; some people want airports to install mind reading systems; Diarrhea, a clumsy "Love Actually" reenactment by a Chinese grad student and bottles of honey in Gatorade bottles spark massive delays and inspire general panic.

Oh, also, terrorists still want to kill us.