Can you get in trouble for saying “I fucking hate the TSA?” I sure hope not, but just in case, all I’ll say about the blue-shirted boobs who hassle you between waiting at the check-in counter and squeezing into the flying mailer tube is that I’m glad they have jobs, because Lord knows people need jobs.
Actually, I’ll say more than that. At DFW, I got scanned (raise your arms above your head, sir) and swiped (hold your hands palms up, sir), and inspected (do you mind if we check your bag, sir), and all of that made me just a little bit indignant, because I was running late, and also because I’m not a fucking terrorist. I might be a pothead with a ridiculous beard and hourly employment who doesn’t like babies and doesn’t believe in Jesus, but I’m an American; I love my country, and I’d never try to harm its people, even when lots of those people are patently obnoxious all the fucking time. Of course, how could the Dan Castellanetta lookalike and the amorphous she-blob know that? I mean, obviously they didn’t know what the shoe-bomber guy had in his shoes, and they didn’t know what the underpants bomber had in his underpants, so I guess arbitrarily selecting some dude who looks about as threatening as everyone else at the airport to step through the scanner and check his hands for traces of nitrates is one way they can possibly be a hero, by virtue of being lucky from drawing a random sample. In that regard, I guess being a TSA employee at an airport security checkpoint is like being a professional lotto player, except that nobody who plays the lotto has ever made a scratchoff late for something. At least they didn’t make me take my pants off.
I guess it’s their professional mindset that bothers me, that you, as a passenger, are a suspect simply because you’re boarding an airplane. I’m sure there’s an argument against my idea that it’s like being searched without a warrant, but there are already a billion other things that can make flying an unpleasant hassle, and waiting for a judge to sign off on something just makes you even later. So you just have to do what they say, and the only recourse you have against getting scanned, swiped for chemicals and felt up by an overweight, royal blue sort-of cop is a scowl and a icy tone. Because in the end, you pretty much have to do whatever they want you to do, because this is America, and safety is job one.
I flew back on Wednesday, June 14th. Needless to say, when I got through the queue to the fat, officious, middle-aged shithead who checks your ID and boarding pass, I had my scowl and icy tone all ready to go. And when he spent extra time scrutinizing my ID, I was ready to metaphorically burn him to the ground with telepathic contempt. He finally marked my boarding pass and handed my driver’s license back to me and looked at me with the raised brows and narrowed eyes your dad uses when he thinks you’re about to spend money on something he thinks is absolutely worthless.
“You can board,” he said, “But your driver’s license is expired.”
“No it isn’t; It expires on my birthday, like everyone’s driver’s license does,” I said, snapping it out of his hands.
He turned away from me. “Next,” he said.
I renewed my license the very next day.