This humorous sign in Milwaukee's airport is peak Midwest
16.11.2023 - 16:17
Every time I visit my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an understated, humorous sign at the end of the airport security screening makes me chuckle.
Just past the X-ray machines and metal detectors, there are a few benches where people can sit to re-pack their laptops and toiletries, put their shoes back on, and reorganize themselves. In most airports, this area mostly goes unnoticed. In Milwaukee, it is labeled the "recombobulation area."
While "recombobulation" isn't an actual word, its antonym, "discombubulation," means "confusion or disorder," according to Merriam-Webster.
The one-of-a-kind term was the brainchild of Barry Bateman, the airport's former director.
Harold Mester, General Mitchell International Airport's director of public affairs and marketing, told Business Insider that Bateman wanted to inject some levity into the arduous process of traveling with silly signs. The Milwaukee airport's in-house shop created the signs and installed them 15 years ago.
"Going through security screening can be stressful for some passengers, so the sign reduces stress by adding a sense of humor," Mester said. "We all sometimes feel a sense of being discombobulated, so why not help passengers recombobulate when they're putting their shoes or belt back on after going through security screening?"
It doesn't get more Midwestern than that.
Bateman retired in 2014, but his legacy lives on. When I landed at the airport during my most recent trip home in November, I posted on my Instagram story that I'd arrived.
"Have fun recombobulating!" a friend who often visits relatives in Milwaukee replied.