This Memorial Day holiday, I’ll be flying to Washington DC with the family. While the nation rightfully honors those who served, or are currently serving, this great nation, my intrepid family will doing something very American. We will proudly join countless thousands in airports across the country to strip down and queue up.
It’s a little dance craze brought to you by our friends at the TSA. You probably didn’t know this, but TSA stands for Tension, Stress, and Anxiety.
Nothing can make a group of otherwise normal functioning human beings more like would-be murderers than a security line. The second you get in line, a genetic switch is flipped reminding you that everyone of these people not sharing your DNA are competing for the last scrap of food and breathable air left on the planet, and it is simply kill or be killed. By the time the elderly lady in front of you, who under any other set of circumstances could easily be your sweet Nona, correctly puts everything into the tray and takes off her shoes, you have already determined a way to fashion a prison shank out of your eye glasses, and you are prepared to use it if she doesn’t hurry up. There is only one overriding, all encompassing thought: making it to the other side of the metal detector and X-ray machine, or else many of those in my way will noticeably limp the rest of their life. The mere thought of being asked to toss your 84 ounce slurpee into the trash is indignation worthy of violence. “What do you mean I can’t travel with this industrial size bottle of Paul Mitchell in my carry-on? How does TSA expect me to control the frizz and have body in my hair without it? You’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead, yet well coiffed, body mister!”
Just settle down people. It’s a line where we all undress, bump into strangers, dance around a little, and if we’re lucky, get patted down. Think of it not as an inconvenience, but as a spring break in Daytona, only it’s free and no one ends up puking in the ice machine in the hotel lobby. Here are some tips for making your security line experience a little more enjoyable.
If you are chosen for a pat down, simply wait until the TSA agent begins, make your best Oh Baby face, wink, and tell them, “ I’ll give you 30 minutes to stop.” The search will be quick and cursory.
If you’re asked if you are carrying anything you didn’t pack, simply say, “I’m weighted down by years of unrequited love, and from my experimental college days, a little shame. They will scoot you right through.
When the burly guy with no sense of humor wants to know if you are carrying anything dangerous, lean in close, and tell him, “At my age, and with my diet, just my colon sonny. But it’s OK, I’m from Missouri, and like everyone else in the state, I have a concealed carry permit.” TSA loves that one.
Finally, getting through the metal detector to the other side is like being born into sweet freedom. So I like to go through like I came into the world, backwards and screaming bloody murder.
Follow these simple tips and you, and your travel companions, will be airport legends. Once you are out of jail, everyone will buy you drinks and give you the window seat. Well, except in the emergency exit row. I don’t know who you have to kill to get a seat there.