Debra DeAngelo - Because I Say So

New TSA security screenings just a waste of perfectly good ado

By Debra (LoGuercio) DeAngelo

©Copyright 2010, Debra DeAngelo, all rights reserved

So, The Cutest Man In The World and I flew to Pennsylvania over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I was all geared up for the new and improved TSA security screenings. Body scan or pat-down? All depends on what the screener looks like. James Spader in a police uniform? Oh, YEAH. Pat me down, baby.

I can scarcely focus on writing the rest of this column just thinking about it.

It’s all a matter of perspective. Don’t think of a pat-down as governmentally enforced public molestation, think of it as good fun. Particularly if the husbie gets to watch.

As it turns out, however, I – and most everyone else in the country – got all excited for nothing. Even though we flew out of two of the biggest airports in the country – San Francisco and Philadelphia -- no body scanning or pat-downs were happening. Just the usual slow shuffling of cattle through the long security lines. And even that was uneventful. They didn’t x-ray my lucky stuffed lion this time. The last time I flew, some plucky upstart fresh out of TSA school was sure he’d discovered the next big terror plot: explosive stuffed animals.

“Why does it have Band-Aids on its stomach,” the ruddy young fellow asked, peering at me suspiciously.

“The nurses put them on when I had my tubes tied,” I explained.

And of course, he blinked and handed my lion right back, lest he get any icky, creepy middle-aged female gynecological issues all over him.

This time, though, nothing. They didn’t even make me take my jewelry off before heading through the metal detector, which didn’t even go off when I did. Just keep mooing – oops -- moving, Ma’am.

Honestly, security at both ends of our flight was a breeze. Which is fine by me, because the sooner I can get through security, the sooner I can pop a Xanax and find an empty chair in which to tremble and whimper until it’s time to board. No, flying is not my favorite pastime. But having married Mr. Frequent Flyer, I’ve managed to dial back from wild-eyed, weeping terror to freaked-out fidgeting and fussing. And then the meds kick in.

Whew. Exhale. Finally.

But what if the TSA was doing the scans and pats. Would I have cooperated? Oh, hell yes. I have to get on a freakin’ airplane, people! I don’t have the phobic bandwidth to fret about my silly outline on a TV screen!

So they scan me. Or you. I have a body. You have a body. We all have a body. This is news to you? Honestly, it’s not that big of a deal.

“Oh, but what if they put our outlines on the internet,” you shudder.

Please. Don’t flatter yourself. Unless you look like Tyson Beckford, and trust me, you don’t, nobody’s interested in checking out the shadows of your bits and pieces on YouTube. And if you think they are… Keyboard Cat – play him off!

Those of you who are all wrapped around the axle about the body-scanning and pat-downs are probably imagining that a parade of nude shadows might give some lonely TSA screener his jollies, and it might for five minutes or so. Give it a week. After being subjected to the images of thousands of lumpy, bumpy overfed Americans, like a never-ending Biggest Loser nightmare, a stale potato would seem downright sexy by comparison.

Get over it people. You may think you have something really special going on under your clothes, but – breaking news -- you have the same mundane stuff that 50 percent of the entire human population has. The human body comes in lots of shapes and sizes, but when you get right down to it, the components are pretty much the same.

As for the pat-downs… all this angst and horror over the thought of a stranger brushing her or his fingers over your jigglies and danglies… has anyone stopped to consider what that’s like for the screeners? How would you like to grope a line of stinky strangers all day, some of whom have clearly never mastered a toothbrush, let alone soap. Even worse, think of the cornucopia of germs, viruses and creepy-crawlies you’d come in contact with. You’d have to soak in a vat of hand sanitizer at the end of the day just to get all ick off.


So shut your whiney trap and be glad you’re the scan-ee and not the scan-er.

All in all, this new and improved TSA screening is much ado about nothing. Don’t waste your perfectly good ado on that. Save it for the mid-flight toddler meltdown, without which no long flight would be complete. It usually starts about two hours from your destination. Some baby banshee starts wailing like a cat with its tail in a blender all the way to the airport, while the inept parents just sit there trying to calm the kid with a baggie of Cheerios.

It’s called Benadryl, people. Use it.

And by the way, is it really so wrong to fantasize about eject buttons at times like this?

You know, I’d walk through a thousand scanners and a zillion pat-downs, heck, I’d agree to fly stark naked if they’d put cry-rooms on airplanes like they have in churches. I mean, in lieu of eject buttons, or course.

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