When we capture would-be terrorists, we should turn them loose in an airport security line and let the stocking-footed, de-jeweled and un-gelled passengers mete out their vengeance. I speak as a frustrated holiday traveler. Unlike our recent Nigerian terrorist who had been on a suspect list for two years, I get a full body pat down each time I travel.
My “specialness” stems from having a pace maker and a hip replacement. I have to identify my condition, be escorted through a separate gate, and wait for a female masseuse to appear. On one such occasion, she was steely-eyed and pear-shaped; I was nonchalant and pear-shaped. Her name was Finnegan. She flexed her latex-covered fingers as she prepared to palm and poke my body. I knew her friends must call her “Fingers”—“Fingers” Finnegan, how could they resist.
“Would you like a private screening?” she asked professionally. I started to reply, “No, honey, I just want to get on the plane. I don’t want to see how much more time I can spend with a stranger dumb enough to think the bulge around my waist comes from carrying dynamite sticks.”
“Fingers” asked me to assume the scarecrow position so she could review my body for armaments. I stood there, arms outstretched, staring blankly into space, my bare feet within the yellow foot-shaped outline on the floor. Her search uncovered a paperclip, a throat lozenge, and a used Kleenex. She returned them to me and bid me a good day. I always feel safer after my pat down, knowing that I am no threat to my fellow passengers.
The Full Body X-Ray
In at least ten airports in the United States, passengers can select between the pat down and the security scan. The devise, much like Superman’s eyes, can see through passengers' clothing and reveal details of the body underneath. Just imagine two elderly, globetrotting women about to be x-rayed. One turns to the other and whispers softly: “Myrtle, be sure to stand up straight and hold your stomach in. You never know who’s looking.” How true. But, supposedly, the photo of your buck-naked body is reviewed in another location and erased within minutes after it is “diagnosed” by “professionals” who, we might assume, work without pay.
We’ll know just how professional they are when we return to the airport after a Christmas trip only to hear the friendly security photographer quip, “Looks like we put on a few pounds around the posterior since we were here last.”
A Better Way Is Needed
I’m thinking that the TSA needs to take a new approach. Our current techniques were designed for the first generation of terrorists and times have changed. As any airline passenger knows, manufacturing explosives from water, gels, and lotions is a chemistry project doomed to failure. The new, downsized cabins make it impossible to do anything that requires more agility than opening a bag of pretzels. Imagine a suicide bomber with his mind on the virgins in the hereafter, trying to produce a bomb atop a seat tray. A sudden bout of turbulence or bump from the oversized guy in the next seat and an entire terrorist plot is foiled.
Shoe bombs are impractical, too, because passengers can no longer reach their feet without moving into the aisle. At this point the terrorist is in grave danger. He must beware of passengers. These poor souls have suffered enough indignities just getting on board. They are edgy. One false move from a suspicious acting traveler and they’ll be on him like a duck on a June bug.
So what should we do? I am one who makes lemonade when given lemons, so I propose a solution. Follow me closely here . . .
When we undergo an outpatient medical procedure, we slip on one of those flimsy smocks with at least one tie missing from the backside, right? We line up awaiting our turn, feeling very vulnerable as the medical wizards perform their magic. Then we re-dress and go on our way.
Why can’t airports do something similar? Let them provide dressing rooms where we can stash our clothing like Clark Kent and change into our In Flight Garments (INFIG) for travel. The one-size-fits-all smock would resemble a belted Hawaiian muumuu and come in a variety of colors.
Special shades would designate first-class passengers and frequent flyers or those requiring travel assistance or a vegan meal. Corporate users could add the company logo or advertising slogan. For a price, Cialis or Viacom could have their sales messages emblazoned on their INFIG. The possibilities are endless.
This security procedure is so much easier, cheaper, and less insidious than those potentially hazardous and annoying x-rays. I am so excited!! Just thinking about In Flight Garments makes me want one—or two—with matching flip-flops and travel bag, of course.