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September 12, 2006

TSA Plants a Lighter

Monday night at the airport is a slow time for departing flights. My flight leaves at 8:50 p.m. I'm the only one on the remote parking shuttle. They've already closed the curbside checkin. They've already shut down the South security checkpoint, so I have to walk across the airport to the other one.

The TSA goons are just loafing around the remaining open metal detectors. I empty my pockets and send everything though the X-ray machine. I walk through the metal detector, and I'm standing there waiting for my belongings to come off the conveyor belt.

“He's got a lighter.? one of the goons comments.

“Which pocket is your lighter in?? one of the other goons asks.

“I don't know.?

“You don't know which pocket your lighter is in??

“No. Do you? You're the one that just looked at the X-ray."

I'm in no mood to humor these miscreants. These low-life state-organs that sit around ogling women and digging through their underwear, looking for that highly-elusive blonde-haired blue-eyed married Christian mother-of-three terrorist. Looking through her things reeeeaaalll good.

The TSA goon began to exhume the contents of my pockets. Everything spilled out into a bin, and then he fingered every item, studying it carefully as though he were some detective instead of an eight-dollar-an-hour dim-wit with a badge. The TSA is the final resting place for every idiot incapable of busing tables or pumping gas.

“If you smoke, you should know you can't carry a lighter on a plane.? He offered.

“I don't smoke.?

“Then why do you have a lighter?? The goon had carefully constructed a little trap for me, and now, in his mind, he had me. He was beside himself with glee. His eyes found mine. He searched my face, as carefully as he'd searched the contents of my pockets. How proud he was of himself to have caught a terrorist in his brilliant little trap. As proud as a child that catches a minnow in a net.

“I don't believe that I do have a lighter. I don't see one. You've dug through all my pockets, and I still don't see one.?

Suddenly, a red disposable lighter appeared in his hand. I have no idea where it came from. Possibly it came from my pocket. Possibly he planted it on me. I have no clue. But how he beamed when he produced that lighter. How magnificent an invention it seemed to him. As though he'd never seen a lighter before in his life. A stone-age hunter-gatherer would not appear more impressed than a TSA goon on the night shift with a Bic lighter.

He put the lighter aside and was now rummaging through whatever else he deemed merited his focus. He held some medicine aloft.

“What is this here?? he demanded.

“That's medicine.?

“What do you use it for?? He asked.

“I don't know.? I meant “none of your f**king business?, but I said, “I don't know.?

“You don't know what you use it for??

“No. Do you??

This really set him off. He summoned over one of the higher level goons. In truth, there were many levels of securocrats at the airport, and they pitched continual low-grade battles for position, authority, funding, and airport real estate among themselves. One side was for the Denver Police Department. Beside them was the TSA. Beside them was the National Guard. Other various degrees of rent-a-pigs, county police, and airport security jocked for the scraps. They weren't allowed to shake down the passengers at the metal detectors, so they contented themselves writing frivolous parking tickets, stealing luggage from the baggage conveyors, and molesting the taxis.

That they fought furtive, skirmishes amongst each other was not surprising. Their bitter, protracted battles were as natural as sibling rivalry. That we ever allowed ourselves to be subject to such an absurdly intrusive screening process is reprehensible. An inexcusable abdication of our duties as formerly free citizens.

“This one here has a lighter but doesn't smoke. And has medicine, but doesn't know what it's used for. He asked me if I knew what he used it for.?

Obviously, the TSA organ was deeply offended that I hadn't cowered to his authority as anticipated.

I began to collect the remainder of my possessions from the tray.

“Hold on. I'm not through screening these.? he barked, but then made no further move to screen the items in question. He was just asserting his authority. Letting the screening run its course. I wasn't sure what he had planned for me. It was clear enough what he wanted, though. He wanted to see me outside in the cross walk when no one else was around so he could teach me to respect his authority.

Presently, the other TSA goon announced that they'd have to confiscate about half of the items from my pockets.

“Or...he offered...you could go up there and mail them to yourself.?

“Why don't they have that set up here??

“What??

“Why not put the mail box right here, so that people could mail the items to themselves without having to re-clear security??

“That isn't how it works.? he barked. Like, why on earth would anyone try to make sense out of a senseless situation. They're tossing toothpaste in the trash. What need does a TSA organ have for logic? Logic to a TSA goon is as worthless as tits on a bull.

“Have a nice night.? I offered in parting to the TSA goon, as he turned his attention to a skinny white girl with a helium balloon.

“That can't come through here.? he chastised the child.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 12, 2006 at 12:31 AM

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Posted by: Robert R. on September 12, 2006 at 9:01 PM

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