The other day, I was in the airport on my way to somewhere far too important to share with the likes of the Reader, when I was pulled into a dark room, beaten, and questioned for four days about my love for America.
Just kidding. That doesn't happen to pasty dudes like me. Plus, I always make sure to wear a "flag pin" on my collar--especially when I fly. (Hey, don't knock it--I gained three "superdelegates" in rural Mississippi just today.)
That said, I did have a few minutes to sit and watch our guardians of the sky profile hapless passengers as they boarded airplanes bound for their grandmothers' homes. I began to wonder about the trivial things that seemed to raise the antennae of the TSA. This is not a unique observation; we've all seen and wondered about these things. But it's a Friday, and I'm tired, and this is my blog, and I get to write what I want (and it's password protected, I think), so too bad.
Realizing that the TSA lives by a code of rules and reg'lations--and with genuine, honest-to-God (or Allah) respect and appreciation for their role in keeping all of us safe--when you see some of the things that set them off, you sometimes have to stop and ask: What's the point?
National security. That is the point. How dare you ask, you miserable communist. To learn more about the important security measures taken by the TSA, I decided to do some research. (Not "Michael Moore research"--but actual research.) Fortunately, our system of transparent government By The People affords the common citizen like me ready access to all State Secrets. You know: checks and balances (my balance: near zero). Anyway, the gentlemen with whom I spoke were very forthcoming and eager to enlighten me. Seventeen FOIA requests, two interrogations, and one water boarding later, here is what I was able to learn about the National Security Directives at work in our nation's airports:
National Security Directive No. 1: Removal of laptop computer from carry-on for inspection.
Official Rationale: Terrorists tend to be "Mac people."
National Security Directive No. 2: Seizure of bottle of Evian water (16 oz.) at security checkpoint.
Official Rationale: Terrorists cannot effectively wage Jihad if they are dehydrated.
National Security Directive No. 3: Seizure of tube of lip balm at security checkpoint.
Official Rationale: Nothing causes a terrorist to lose his cool and blow his cover like f---ing with his Carmex.
National Security Directive No. 4: Pat-down of 89-year-old man in wheelchair.
Official Rationale: Fits the profile for "cranky, chair-bound terrorist with a lazy eye yelling about all the goddamn terrorists and where's my Cheez Whiz."
National Security Directive No. 5: Pat-down of thin, attractive, 27-year-old woman.
Official Rationale: National Security is a serious matter. We can't AFFORD to take any chances . . . .
National Security Directive No. 6: Picking of TSA "specialist's" nose.
Official Rationale: Next on President Bush's "hot list" of places WMDs might be hidden.
National Security Directive No. 7: Waving of metal-detecting wand over toddler at security checkpoint.
Official Rationale: They do this on the set of Sesame Street all the time, kid. Don't screw with me, or you and that bag of Cheerios will be off to Guantanamo so fast it'll make your head spin.
As you can see, there is a perfectly sound explanation for everything. Nothing to worry about.
[River Trout's disclaimer: All smart-assery aside, I truly do appreciate and thank all who work hard to keep us and our airways safe.]