Once I went to a reception at the White House for Stephen Hawking. As I passed through the metal detectors at the security check point, I read a sign that listed prohibited items such as knives, guns, and nunchucks. Gee, I thought, does the sign really deter world-be presidential assassins? And nunchucks!! If it weren’t for the sign, would Kobudo warriors have taken over the president’s home?
I’ve been spending a lot of time in the august reading room of The New York Public Library searching for a topic for my next book, and I was similarly struck by a list of seemingly self-evident prohibited behavior:
Obscene and/or abusive language or gestures.
Creating a public disturbance.
Harassing or threatening behavior.
Use of bicycles, skates, skateboards, scooters, or similar items.
Engaging in any activity that is a violation of criminal or civil law.