Sunday, October 19, 2008

Going Through Airport Security: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

Ever since Sept. 11, security at airports has tightened up. Now I'm all for increased measures to ensure my safety. It's an ugly, vicious world we live in, and America is less safe than ever before.

But let's be honest: Most of it is absurd. Why, for example, can I no longer bring a normal-sized can of shaving cream onto a flight? Is it because the cannister may actually be a bomb? Is it because the travel-sized shaving cream -- which doesn't offer enough shaving cream for me to actually shave, mind you -- is small enough that it will only kill half the people on board if filled with a deadly substance? Is that what we consider "increased safety?" We can't save everybody, but we can save some?

Last weekend, I went up to Northern California for my fiancee Ramona's alumni weekend at Stanford, and my good friends at Burbank Airport were kind enough to remind me at how annoying going through airport security can be:

Annoying Airport Security Measure # 1: Having to show your driver's license.

If you're like me, your driver's license is in your wallet. If you're also like me, your driver's license is still in the wallet as your arms are filled with carry-on bags while walking toward airport security. It is when -- and only when -- you get near the security line that you see the woman at the podium, waiting to check to make sure you are who you really are.

So you have to do the following:

Put all your stuff down.

Take out your wallet.

Rummage through your wallet.

Drop at least one or two credit cards onto the ground until your driver's license appears.

And feel the glares of the people behind you staring.

And it's not like this airport security person knows what the hell he or she is doing. They stare at the card for a good 14 seconds, not to ensure the license is real, but rather to try and convince you that they're being thorough, all while thinking:

How much longer do I have to stare at this thing to make this guy believe that I actually know what the hell I'm doing?

Yeah that's right, license-checking guy: I'm onto you.

Annoying Airport Security Measure Thing # 2: Nothing bigger than travel-sized.

I'm a man. I need man-sized toothpaste. I'm a man. I need man-sized shaving cream. I'm a man. I need man-sized deoderant.

Travel-sized items were made for women in mind.

There. I said it.

Why the hell is it no longer OK to bring regular-sized toiletries? Won't a small travel-sized amount of anthrax kill the same number of people on a plane as a regular-sized amount of anthrax? Is American air travel really safer because I can no longer bring my large 99-cent bottle of supermarket-brand shampoo?

And for that matter, what's up with travel-sized plastic bags? Why is normal sized not allowed? I used to be able to put everything in one plastic bag. Now I need five. It pisses me off.

Here's my theory:

The airline gurus got together with the plastic bag gurus and said:

Let's screw over the American public for our own personal gain.

I can feel a lot of you nodding.

Annoying Airport Security Measure # 3: Taking off your socks.

OK. Shoes? Fine. Some terrorist hid something in their shoe. I get it. It's annoying, but I'll deal.

But some of these guys -- these overzealous, police-academy-rejected security folks -- make you take off your socks as well.

It happened to me last weekend. It brought about the following exchange:

Security Lady: Sir, you need to take off your socks.

Me: Why?

Security Lady: For your safety, sir.

Me: It's gonna make me more safe for you to see my bare feet?

Security Lady: Sir, please take off your socks.

Me: Why would I hide a weapon in my socks?

Security Lady: Sir...

Me: It would poke me in the toes.

Security Lady: Sir...

Me: The rug is cold.

Security Lady: Sir...

Me: When was the last time your carpets were washed?

Security Lady: SIR!!!!

I took off my socks.

After all, I didn't want to be difficult.

And now for this week's:


Kellen Winslow of the NFL's Cleveland Browns recently had to miss a game after being hospitalized due to swollen testicles.

I say again:

Swollen testicles.


Swollen testicles.

I confess: I didn't know that was possible.


Jessie said...

I would scold you for the carry-ons, but with the new baggage fees I can't say that I blame you.

Another Suburban Mom said...

I feel your pain. The last time my son flew they would not let him take his Zyrtec which he needs for his allergies.

My son is eight. He is not a terrorist. Sigh.

Elly said...

Did you hear about that one lady who was made to take our her nipple rings?! Crazy times....

Ramona said...

In China, they made me throw away my shampoo, but not my conditioner. Something was obviously lost in translation :)