Wednesday, November 24, 2010

For Your Entertainment 2 - TSA

Since there is all this hullabaloo (which is my new favorite word) going on surrounding TSA and their sometimes questionable security tactics, I figured now would be a good time to tell you all the story of my last experience with TSA.

It was in February of this year, and I was flying from SLC to LAX on a business trip (sounds prestigious, right? Ooh, little Utah boy gets to fly to the big city for business… but it really wasn’t that special). After getting my ticket and checking my baggage, I waited in line for security, and, as is custom, after a security guy looked at my ID and stamped my ticket, I selected the shortest line to the x-ray machines and metal detectors.

After a few text messages and thoughts about the marvelous coffee at the Starbucks just beyond security (I don’t know if the excitement of the flight makes their coffee better, or if it really just is the best Starbucks in the entire world), I suddenly looked up to see another passenger holding his hands above his head in a large machine that certainly didn’t look like any metal detector I’ve seen before.

“Oh,” I thought nonchalantly. “That must be that new full-body scanner.”

And then, slowly, realization dawned as to why I was in the shortest line… people were avoiding my line like the plague.

Now the line I was in wasn’t a straight shot to the full-body scanner machine. It weaved around, right passed the line to the last metal detector, so I hadn’t noticed that the two lines were separate – and I, yes I, was in the line to be scanned by the full-body scanner.

“What should I do?” I thought. “Would it look suspicious if I jumped into another line?”

After quickly weighing my options I decided I really didn’t care, and I started dreaming up all sorts of possibilities: What if the TSA agent looking at the photos was a Mark Wahlberg look-alike who after seeing my image fell madly in love with me to the point where he would search the airport over for me only to find me in the Starbucks line where he would buy my amazing coffee, our eyes would meet, and he would produce a ticket he purchased to go to LA with me. Of course, that scenario would require a whole lot of suspension of reality (I am happily partnered, after all), but it at least gave me the courage to step into the machine.

I raised my hands, and was scanned.

As the TSA agent asked me to step out, I smiled and asked him if I could have a copy of my picture for my Facebook profile. I thought I was pretty funny. He didn’t seem amused.

Then, his walky-talky started buzzing, and he whispered a few words and acknowledgements into his shoulder before asking me to please stand against the railing. When that happened I thought one of three things must have transpired. One, Mark Wahlberg was going to give me a copy of my picture for Facebook; two, Mark Wahlberg wasn’t going to wait for me to get to Starbucks, he was just going to call me to his office for a quickie; or three, someone didn’t like my Facebook joke very much and I was in a lot of trouble.

“Ok,” the TSA agent explained finally. “I’m going to hold my hands like this…” (he made little claw-like hands) “… and I’m only going to touch you with the flat part of my hand. You need to keep still.”

I was really confused, so I just said, “Ok.”

And then, he felt up both sides of my you-know-where area(!), then told me I could go.

Admittedly I was a bit confused. I thought the full-body scanner was supposed to stop the need for the pat-downs/feel-ups. So I was thinking of all the reasons that they would need to check my crotch after being full-body scanned. After I thought over a few possibilities, my mind settled on my favorite: maybe I was just so well-endowed that Mark Wahlberg thought it couldn’t be natural! That must be it. I started looking around wildly for him, and lingered a bit in the Starbucks line, just in case.

When I got to my hotel room I had to change from my jeans into a more business appropriate dress slacks, and that is when I realized I was wearing my favorite pants from Hollister… with a button fly.

Suddenly I was brought back down to reality. It wasn’t my huge member that caused TSA to check for bombs in my lower vicinities, it was the fact that the metal buttons undoubtedly showed up as a series of dots on the x-ray, and while I’m sure they figured out they were buttons, they had to check to make sure I wasn’t hiding something behind them (at least, a nefarious something).

So lesson learned: Never go through the full-body scanner with button fly jeans because Mark Wahlberg doesn’t like that he can’t see your private parts when you do. And you should probably avoid the comments about Facebook too… for some reason he’s pretty sensitive about that.


Romulus said...

People have asked me my political opinion about the TSA body scanners. And how do I opine? Matters what the security man looks like.

JonJon said...

That's fantastic. Your story reminds me of this article that a friend of mine sent me.

Gay Saint said...

Haha. Too true, Romulus. Thanks for the link, JonJon. The article says that the MENS version has the fig leaf, so does that mean it is the men's version that is pictured? Those sure don't look like men's underwear to me ;)

JonJon said...

That's funny, I had the same thought.

And I agree with the point Romulus made. It totally depends, although I'm guessing for most TSA agents, it would be a no go for me.

If you haven't seen the SNL TSA skit that aired last Saturday, you should look it up on Hulu. It's pretty funny.