Monday, March 14, 2011

On flying the friendly skies.


I'm a little hesitant to post a rant so soon after Booze's message about Japan.  I've been to Sendai several years ago on a visit to Japan and this whole situation has me still feeling a little shellshocked.  It's incredibly heartbreaking to hear about the number of people still missing from the resulting tsunami.  I hope their families can eventually find some closure in this matter whether they be found alive or not.  Can we all observe a moment of silence before I continue with this post?

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Okay so I've just returned from a visit to France, or as Rel-Bar put it, the "Old World".  That just sounds so cool doesn't it?  Like I just visited some place right out of a Dungeons & Dragons game set.  And no, I'm not going to clown on Dungeons & Dragons.  GrumpyCoyote is "cool" no matter what geeky shit he's into, and that's final!

Anyway, this post is about the TSA, or Transportation Security Administration for those of you who aren't lucky enough to live in the United States to experience their special brand of "customer service".  I've flown many times after 9/11 and am quite used to the heavy flight restrictions we are to endure because of terrorist threats.  The TSA was created by the Department of Homeland Security to ensure our safety in a government regulated fashion.  I wouldn't call it a necessary evil because I get it, we're living in shitty, scary times.  People try weird stuff like lighting their shoes or underwear on fire, it's messed up, and definitely not cool.  We absolutely need this agency.  What we don't need, is their crappy attitude. 

Everytime I pass through a security checkpoint in an American airport, I make it a point to smile and say hello to the TSA person that reviews your boarding pass and personal identification.  They usually return the friendliness with a stern look of disapproval and bark at you if you're walking too fast or too slow, or if you headed down the wrong lane.  Sorry, it was confusing because they arranged the retractable nylon barriers in some kind of strange labyrinth that is designed to lead you to certain death (or a full body cavity search).  And we're stuck complying with their rude ushering and demands because nobody wants to rock the boat and appear terrorist-like right?  We are just happy sheep doing our best to follow directions in order to make it to the other side of security so that we can enjoy a $15 sandwich and a Dean Koontz novel from the terminal bookstore.

Okay in their defense, they deal with thousands of anxious and annoyed travelers on a daily basis.  It's enough to wear anybody out.  That's when you start to look for new job.  Judging by the ads i see on daytime TV, you can become a vet tech, car mechanic, medical billing specialist, or personal masseuse in less than 2 years and you don't even need your GED.  A pretty sweet deal for these disgruntled TSA jagoffs.

Oh and another thing, you know that Backscatter X-ray (aka Whole Body Imager, aka tit/nutsack/brain scanner) machine they spent millions of dollars on?  Well it appears that it doesn't save anybody any time or effort.  After they took an "adult" photograph of my genitals and then reviewed it carefully on a monitor like I was a grade school science project, I was then to suffer through a pat-down, and then a machine was used to sample the palms of my hands for traces of who knows what; gunpowder, toxic waste, nacho cheese residue, etc.  So in the end, instead of me just walking through a good ol' fashioned metal detector, this machine required 3 separate TSA personnel, a gigawatt of electricity, and everybody's precious time while they sorted things out.  I may be wrong, but I thought a fancy expensive machine like this was supposed to simplify the process.  Hmmm, maybe it's just a government conspiracy to catalog all nutsacks and funbags in some sort of kinky searchable database.  That makes perfect sense now that I think of it.

Also, did I forget to mention I approached the security checkpoint dressed as the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens and holding a lit molotov cocktail in one hand and an AK-47 in the other?  Maybe that didn't help. Hmmmm...

8 comments:

UKISOCIETY said...

What drives me crazy about the TSA is that they pat down old cripples if they have to use a walker or wheelchair going thru the metal detector. I saw on TSA "agent" grope an old guy after hauling him out of his wheelchair and then forget about him after the pat down. The poor guy's standing there with his arms out to his side waiting to be cleared. Probably had a heart attack that night due to the over exertion.

T'aint right, that.

DeG said...

Now, I'm pissed! They are groping Russ and the elderly, and I have yet to get groped!! WTF? Am I that revolting? What's a guy gotta do to get a little pre-flight action??

DeG said...

BTW, if someone could work a Dungeon's & Dragons tie-in with my last comment, that would be awesome.. I was going to say TSA needs to roll for initiative and grab my Bucknards Everfull Purse...but that seemed lame...oops.

dktoller said...

C'mon, Russ. You go all the way to the 'old world' and the best thing you can find to rant about is the TSA? I'm losing faith in you buddy.
We want to hear about overly-stinky cheese and fromage fanatics, the hazards of being surrounded by nearly-free excellent wine, or perhaps the trials and tribulations of being recognized as a tourist when you're trying to blend in.
But you're right, the TSA seems to be composed of all my highschool classmates who didn't make it anywhere. And it doesn't inspire confidence.

RussBuss said...

@dktoller: i had a good time in France, nothing to bitch about there. i got a dose of reality when i returned to the US and had to deal with the asshole airport employees again.

The chosen one said...

I like to moan when they pat me down. But, seriously they can profile serial killers but not terrorists. I mean does Russ look like a terrorist. Oh, shit he kind of does. Nevermind.

GonUkeCrazy said...

At one time, wasn't it cool to light your underwear on fire? Scary times, sounds like more drunk times to me:)

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