A Mostly Fractured Take On Current Events

Don’t Try To Get Buddy Buddy With Your TSA Agent

In Essays on March 16, 2011 at 1:42 am

I want to be friends with my TSA agent. I really do. Mostly out of sympathy for the poor guy. He receives lots of complaints for his tactics but consider what he must endure. For hours a day, he views nude scans of every traveler seeking a plane ride. The last time I checked, planes aren’t filled with Jessica Albas or Brad Pitts. They’re filled with people like you and me. People who think eating a full pint of Ben & Jerry’s in one sitting isn’t such a bad thing. Welcome to the Flab Festival, Mr. TSA Screener; your eyes will soon be burning.

But the TSA agent makes friendship difficult to achieve. Before I approach his screening station, I’m already viewed as a threat. Not being a terrorist, I can only assume I’m being judged harshly for my controversial views on packing a light suitcase. Taking an extra pair of socks is for sissies and I stand firm on this belief.

I haven’t been probed or x-rayed at the airport yet but I know it’s only a matter of time. I’ve thought a lot about the new TSA guidelines and I think my only gripe is that I can’t come up with an adequate protest against them. In my perfect world, I’d cite Constitutional benchmarks and rail against my invasion of privacy with convincing oratory thunder. But in my real world, all that comes out of my mouth is “Mommy, he won’t stop touching me!” With that stellar defense, I’m sure to convince the most stringent screening agent to let me avoid the scrutiny entirely. Or not.

And so I’m taken to the scanning machine.  I’m nervous to walk through that contraption. Who wouldn’t be? The full-body scan reveals all, including your deepest thoughts, I’m told.  The only thought running through my mind is, “Dang. Now they’ll know that I rarely exercise!” But then I remember what the entire world already knows for certain: one look at my physique and they’ll assume I never took my “Ab Rocket” out of its box. While true, they don’t have to gloat.

I take full responsibility for not exercising. But the TSA needs to give a little as well. I’m giving them a free nude viewing. The least they could do is provide something embarrassing to me in return. I recommend to my TSA Agent that he give me a copy of his freshman high school photo…the one where his face is overrun with pimples the size of marbles and the braces in his mouth make Iron Man blush. His stony silence convinces me that I am breaking the ice.

The agent asks me if I would be more comfortable with an intrusive pat down. Yes, please. That sounds much nicer. The problem with pat-downs is that passengers don’t have anything to do but stand there with their arms out. I suggest to the agent that we should be given a buzzer. Every time an agent gropes you just a little too close for comfort, you should receive 10,000 frequent flyer miles. If they should accidentally touch the most holy of holy areas…Buzzzz!!!…your next flight is free. It’ll be like the game “Operation” for the flyer crowd.

My ideas are not met with excitement. In fact, I’m told that if these ideas continue I could end up on something called a “No Fly List.” This creates instant fear inside me. Will I end up having to ride Greyhound from now on? That would be a terrible fate were it not for one fact: Bus riders don’t have to go through screenings. It’s all a part of their new ad campaign, “If you ride our bus, we’ll ignore your bust.” And so I make a reservation. I can now get back to my charade of fooling the public at-large that I work out.

© 2011 Pat Hester


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