Four years ago, TSA wasn't yet groping little kids or nipple twisting grown up women. Four years ago, former TSA head (and I mean the term to be defined in Naval jargon) Mike Chertoff and leftie billionaire George Soros weren't profiting from the porno scanners yet. Four years ago, TSA was acting out security theater as if they were protecting the flying public. Four years ago this was my story.....
Mrs TWC parted company with her Californicate driver license at some point after disembarking from a fifty-five minute Southwest flight to Sin City. Yet, we were treated less like criminals at McCarren airport in Vegas than at Ontario (California), when she still was in possession of the sole proof she existed.
No longer legit and clutching a boarding pass with the dreaded NO ID hand-printed in two inch high BLOCK LETTERS with circles, arrows, and an orange highlighted box drawn not-so-neatly around the NO ID part by an alert TSA guy who, unlike his predecessors was no hamburger flipper in a past life, we were shuttled off down a long glass-and-steel claustraphobic walkway roughly 12 feet high and open at the top. Or maybe it was less being alert and more about Mrs TWC fessing up: my license was stolen this weekend.
Why Me? I'm looking as unobtrusive as possible (to avoid the inevitable strip search) when she jerks a hitchhiker's thumb in the direction of the line behind her and says what about my husband? That's easy sez Mr TSA, yer hitched and traveling with her you might be a shoe bomber as well. Thanks Babe, but I already had a prostate exam this year.
TSA searched her bag, CAT scanned mine, stood us in a unit that blew compressed air in rotating and unexpected ways all over us. Sort of like trying to guess where the next light on the peripheral vision testing machine is going to be. Then we were CAT scanned standing up, one at a time, handed back our stuff with a big smile and a thank you and we were out of there.
Surprisingly enough, the entire process took less than five minutes and allowed us to bypass hundreds of groggy and partially-hungover people, each of whom had won enough to pay for the trip and a couple of hundred extra to bring home (which is how they build all those fancy casinos).
I'm surly and I figured I'd be calling down the wrath of the Almighty in a scathing indictment of TSA and the horrors they inflicted upon Mrs TWC.
I'm delighted that it didn't quite go down that way but it doesn't change my stance on without probable cause. Smiles and efficiency do wonders, just ask Dale Carnegie. Just the same, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Good thing TSA didn't find the stickers I got from Drew Carey.
This blog post originally appeared in 2005. Despite the reality embodied in Drew's stickers, I doubt any of us expected TSA scrutiny to come to this. Ain't this America?