My Biggest Mistakes of 2017 Series – I Took a Knife to an Arcade Fire Concert

I bought a little jackknife a few years ago, and I love it. It’s small enough to fit in the the little mini-pocket that many pants have, and it’s strong and sharp enough to do all sorts of cutting tasks.

After I bought it, I was constantly surprised at how often it came in handy. Now only do I have a lot of things to cut or slash at every day for some reason, but other people do too. The only problem with my knife is that it’s very small, so I lose track of it a lot. Sometimes it falls out when I take off my pants at night, and I don’t find it for months.

In the summer of 2017, I got cheap tickets to an Arcade Fire concert at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The concert wasn’t until November, so I didn’t think about it much. I’ve only gone to the ACC one other time for a concert, and as we were walking up to it, I realized that they might have us go through metal detectors. I felt like I had read this when I bought the tickets.

I got very worried because I had my nice little knife in my pocket. I thought about putting it inside my wallet, but then I thought that if they put wallets/etc. through an x-ray machine, it’d show up and look very suspicious. I decided to attach the knife to my keychain, thinking it would look inconspicuous, and that I could say something like “Ohh, yeah, I forgot that was there, it’s my little tiny knife and it’s not even sharp” if they even noticed it.

At the door, they had us put any metal things in little plastic bins. The guy saw my knife immediately, which surprised me. I said “Ohh, yeah, I forgot that was there, it’s my little tiny knife and it’s not even sharp” but the guy didn’t care, and said I couldn’t bring it in. I said that I couldn’t throw it away because I paid $30 for it, and wasn’t there any way I could bring it or they could hold it or something.

He said no, and that I could either throw it out, or go outside and hide it somewhere. I actually talked to him for a while about this, because it struck me as really crazy to go and hide something in one of the busiest places in a large city. He said that people did it all the time when they were in situations like mine. I asked him if it worked and they found their stuff later, and he said he had no clue, because he wasn’t around for that part. Fair enough.

He also said that there was another entrance to the ACC where you could check items. I asked “Even a knife?” and he said he didn’t know if they’d take it. I knew, but I went to that entrance anyway, just in case I was wrong.

I was not wrong, and they would not check a knife. I tried to bribe the guy who I talked to there into just letting me into the concert with the knife (I had my ticket with me still), and he paused, but said no. He paused long enough that I think if I had started talking numbers, it might have been possible to sway him, but that would only be if I really did a serious bribe. I was thinking more like $10, maybe $15 tops – just a baby bribe.

I went back outside and looked for a place to hide the knife. The Air Canada Centre seems like a nice building, but the architects didn’t seem to care about hiding knives around it at all, there was nowhere. The employee who had suggested hiding it had mentioned that people would hide stuff in the parking lot across the street, but I didn’t love the idea of crossing the street, digging a little hole, putting a knife in, and then covering it, with dozens of people loitering about outside the arena.

The only spot I could see to hide the knife was a pay phone on the side of the building. I went over and pretended to make a phone call, which, in 2017, was probably much more suspicious-looking than if I had just yelled “I’m hiding a knife over here!”

While I was pretending to make a call, I dropped the knife in the thin area where the phone was connected to the wall. I heard it fall and was instantly positive I would never see my cool, small knife again.

I went inside and tried to enjoy the concert, but the seats were terrible, so it was incredibly hard to see or hear the band clearly, and I kept thinking about how I was going to try and get the knife out from behind the pay phone, which stressed me out a bit and took away from me really getting into the show. We skipped the encore, and I went to all the concession stands inside the arena to try and get something I could stick behind the pay phone to knock my knife out. I grabbed probably 20 plastic forks and knives, and some paper towels.

Amazingly, when I stuck a couple of utensils behind the pay phone on one side, my knife popped right out the other, and fell gently into my hand. It was incredibly surprising, and I was super happy. I talked about it for about 3 days. Stuff like “I can’t believe I got my knife back” and “I still can’t believe I got my knife out of that pay phone” and things like that. Everyone I know got extremely tired of hearing about it very quickly, but I kept going – it’s my way.

So that was a big mistake, but it turned out well. I love that cool, small knife.

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