Sunday, December 02, 2007

Held up at badge-point.

Airport security agents are doing nothing more than robbing us blind. Snatching our shaving creams, lotions, and moisturizers. All that's missing is a firm "put your hands up!" Oh, wait, they do say that, if you're lucky enough to get waved by one of their magic wands. It's as if every kleptomaniac in the country had been given a uniform and told to report for work.

I'm for airline safety as much as the next guy, but it's not our planes that are being hijacked, it's our dignity and toiletries. Why nothing more than 3 ounces? Do explosive or combustible liquids only come in 3.1 ounce jars and up? Th
ink of the waste! There must be landfills piled high with hand cream, cologne, and KY jelly. Here's an exchange I had a few months ago when flying home to LA from Ft. Lauderdale:

A TSA agent approached me and said, "Sorry sir, you can't bring this on board." The biological danger he was referring to was my St. Ives apricot facial scrub. Maybe he thought my plan was to exfoliate the entire plane to death.

"Don't you watch the news?" he continued. "No, I read the news," I replied. I then explained there had been conflicting reports over the easing of flying restrictions, and that I had flown in from Los Angeles with the very same container. The guard countered, "Well, I don't know how they do things in Los Angeles, but you can't fly with it out of here." "Exactly," I said. "You don't know how they do things in Los Angeles. That's the problem. If this is a federal rule, then it should be consistent amongst all airports. If it's not, then it's a joke."

"Are you calling airline security a joke sir? Because if you are, we'll get the Head of Security down here and HE can decide whether you can fly today or not." I'll go you one further," I said. "It's not only a joke, but it puts us in even greater danger. What you're doing here, sir, is theater. You are putting on a show. You're making it 'seem' as if there's a system in place to keep us safe. That's dangerous. It lulls people into a false sense of security. A false sense of security keeps people less vigilant and less prepared. Just like we were on September 10th.

"Don't call security a joke, sir." (Apparently, he was still stuck on that.) I replied, "but you know it's a joke. I know it's a joke. The woman behind me taking off her Easy Spirits knows it's a joke. Even my apricot facial scrub knows it's a joke. We all know it's a joke"

Some applauded. Others just threw sour faces at me. The head of Security came. I no longer called their efforts a joke. Instead, as I grabbed my bags, I told the guard he should be ashamed of himself for participating in such silly efforts during such serious times.

"Why put up a fuss?" you might ask. I guess, in the back of my mind, I thought if we all put up a fuss, something would be done. My rational side knows that's not going to happen. Maybe I wasn't really angry with the security rules that day at all. Perhaps I lashed out because I felt emasculated. I mean, the only thing more emasculating than carrying apricot facial scrub around is having another man take it away.

1 comment:

Mike (Not the one you think. A different Mike.) said...

I'm sorry they took away your apricot scrub. (Your skin looks fine.) If it makes you feel better, they took my underwear. It wasn't terrorist underwear or anything. Maybe it was just sensational, although I'm aware "just sensational" is an oxymoron. Anyway, it happened at the airport in Toulouse. I would have put up a fuss like you did, because it was my favorite underwear. And, really, nobody should take away a man's underwear. Only I didn't notice it was gone until I got to Madrid. But that's a whole other story.