I totally get airport security given the times we live in. No one wants to board an airplane with the threat of a terrorist take-over.
Hey, I’m already nervous just taking my seat and stewing about my aversion to take off and landings. I don’t want the additional angst of thinking I might have to subdue some belligerent nut bar with a weapon. When referencing Neil Young’s “911” song, “Let’s Roll”, the only roll that might refer to me is the one around my midriff. Indeed, no one would mistake me for an armed and dangerous Air Marshall.
Also, I know I am not a threat to passengers, I don’t carry contraband, and if I have a drink I’m more likely to fall asleep than become obnoxious. The only profile I might fit into is the group known as, “The Grumpy Old Men”; a group that is often deliberately ignored by security types. You see, no security agent wants to tangle with the potential for old fart fury which, of course, is incumbent in all of us old guys.
“Get off my lawn you little weasel, shoooo!”
That, however, has not changed the fact that old Grumpy has had his fair share of run-ins with Airport Security. It seems that, if there is an alarm to be activated, he’ll surely set it off. Surprisingly, Grumps has no implants or replacement parts that are metal save for the piece of wire embedded in his shin bone courtesy of his wayward use of a powerful weed-whacker.
Let me set the scene for one Grumpy’s most interesting airport security encounters.
We were in Anchorage, Alaska, preparing for our Air Canada flight to Vancouver. America was at an Orange Level of Security, which is getting up there close to bright red on the rainbow dial of Homeland Security visuals. That’s when you see dudes carrying semi-automatics.
As is usually the case, Grumpy had a lot of trouble clearing his pockets of all of the brick-and-bract he carries there. But, a second dip in each pocket proved that those spaces were free and clear. He had duly removed his belt and shoes, deposited his wallet and cell phone, and conscientiously removed all metal from his person (rings, chains etc.).
Holding his drooping pants up with one hand he entered that security thing-a-ma-bob that scans you for metal.
The alarm sounded loudly. The female security person on the other side was looking over her glasses and directing Grumps to take a step back. She looked really pissed.
Grumpy was told to check his pockets and person once again. This proved difficult because when he let go of the beltless waistband he felt his pants slowly sliding downward. In fear of mooning his fellow passengers or having his pants slip to his knees, Grumpy instituted some slight-of-hand by switching from right hand to left, and contorting to reach into each and every pocket. With these kinds of gyrations, I’m sure Grumpy looked as if he was trying to scratch an unreachable itch or was preforming some kind of aboriginal dance.
No matter, the coin he found deep in his pocket was held proudly high over his head and placed in the plastic container. Those standing waiting in line behind him applauded appreciatively, given the delay they were now experiencing.
And so, Grumpy, smiling confidently, walked forward into the thing-a-ma-bob that does the job for a second time.
“Bbbrrrrriiiiiiinggggg!, the alarm sounded, once again.
This was followed by long drawn out sighs and some muffled expletives from those waiting in line. Honestly, the shuffling of feet became a cacophony.
Accordingly, Grumpy instituted his third personal search, this time digging deeper, in hopes that the illusive microbe of metal might be found. Nevertheless, he picked, prodded and probed everywhere and found nothing. So, he stepped forward again.
The female security person was indicating with her finger that Grumpy was to step to the side. The eyes peering over those glasses had “this means business” written all over them.
She held a wand in her hand which was about the size of a Star Wars light saber. Grumpy, now cowering, watched as she swung that wand around him as if ready to behead him on the spot.
Guess what? An alarm sounded again, this time much louder
Leaning forward, and in a surprisingly deep authoritative voice, the rotund gal waving the wand offered this to Grumpy, “Sir, either you locate what is setting off this alarm or we take this search to another level – over there!”
Her finger was pointing at a big door to the right that instantly put Grump’s sphincter into spasm. She could only have meant one thing: a fully body and cavity search that wouldn’t be performed by a dentist.
Sweating profusely now, Grumpy searched his mind for an answer: any answer. Suddenly, that answer came to him like a bolt from the blue. He knew the pants that he wore had a mini-pocket within the right hand pocket pouch: something like a pocket-watch depository. This little pouch often caught a coin, un-be-noticed by Grumps.
Could it be?
Reaching in with his index finger he felt something. It took a tremendous effort to get the object out, but with Ms. Security tapping her foot incessantly, Grumpy didn’t want to bring on the inevitable. Withdrawing the illusive security offender, he placed the small object in his hand and almost burst out laughing.
A foil package containing a BEANO tablet glistened under the security lights. You see, Grump carries this anti-fart remedy whenever he flies. With respect to his fellow passengers, he wants to avoid Old Fart flatulence at any cost. The potential for this type of contraband surely must be written down as part of airport security’s “Grumpy Old Men” profile, don’t you think?
Also, you might recall Grumpy’s rule about always taking a drink when you fly but not drinking beer because of the obvious consequences.
Grumpy’s new security pal gingerly took the package from his hand but was not as amused as him and rightly so. He stepped back through the metal detector, walked forward, this time with total success. Clutching his waistband with his left hand he raised his right arm in triumph! His pants must have looked like he was wearing them Steve Urkel’ style, high and at nipple level.
That said, the Good Wife had a similar experience at the Hamilton Airport before we flew west to Alberta in December. That darn alarm kept sounding each and every time she passed through the detector. I wasn’t surprised because the gal wears enough jewelry that I swear she’s a Gypsy Queen. Her auburn air adds to this notion. And, no doubt a rogue ring or bangle or necklace was doing her in here at airport security.
Finally, Wand Lady said to her, “You have two choices. I can frisk you here or I can check you over there! It is your choice.” She was pointing over to a small corner in the security area and not a door as Grumpy had experienced in Alaska.
“I can’t tell you that, mam,” was her curt response. “We’re not allowed to tell you. It is your choice.”
“Alright, I’ll do it here,” my wife finally replied, after some deep thought, of course. It was sort of like the Price is Right without the prizes, “Mam, do you want door number two or door number three?”
Hmmmmm, let me think about that?
And so, she was patted down and frisked much as you see it being done on CSI or any other police drama you might watch on television. I’m pleased to report that The Good Wife passed her very public frisking with flying colours.
Ever curious, she asked Wand Lady, “So, did I make the right choice?”
With a wink, Wand Lady simply said, “Oh, yes mam, you made the right choice. You wouldn’t have wanted to experience (my words) “door number two”!”
Oh, my! You’d be right if you thought many an Anchorage flashback danced in my head with that response.
Given our experience, I do suggest that Homeland Security re-evaluate their profiling profiles in their security computer databases. I believe they need to take a close look at the description of groups that include Old Farts and Gypsies. This would save me a lot of grief.
So, in closing, although I totally agree that we need airport security, I just wish it didn’t add more grist to the mill when it comes to Grumpy’s aversion to flying. Either that, or Grumpy resorts to pocket-less track pants with a strong elastic waist band pulled up to his chin on all future flights.
But, it really doesn’t matter does it, because Grumpy has once again vowed to never step on a plane again. Well, at least until the next opportunity presents itself. Until then, he’ll hold firm to terra firma, four wheels and an internal combustion engine. Yes, he’s sticking to Air Hyundai for the next little while!
Beep! Beep! Vrooooom!