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TSA to America: Go scan yourself

TSA to America: Go scan yourself
You have to hand it to the Transportation Safety Administration (motto: “Jelly is, too, a liquid!”). Only TSA could’ve surveyed the Dystopian hellscape that is using a self-checkout at the grocery store and thought: “Yes! We should try that at airports so passengers can perform their own security scans!”

Sorry but rooting out terrorists at an airport needs human intervention, no matter how painful that can be for all of us. This isn’t the same as having to wait for the bagboy to confirm that, “Yeah, you’re old” to buy alcohol or delete the charge for an artichoke when you meant to press avocado because artichokes are stupid amounts of work with lousy ROI (Return on Investment), as we all know.

On the other hand, I could’ve used this self-scan last week when the TSA agent glumly informed me I had been randomly selected for …

“Upgrade to First Class! That’s wonderful!” Alas. That was soooo not what she said.

“…a more intense pat down. Would you like to go somewhere more private?” I swear that’s how she asked it. Would there be a ciggie afterward? Hmmm.

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She snapped on fresh blue gloves and mentioned, a tad aggressively, I thought, she would be touching my “groin” area. Which I didn’t even know women had that.

She ran her hands along the insides of my thighs in a no-nonsense “this is for the government” manner while we both looked at the ceiling and thought of Milwaukee. Mercifully, my thighs and alleged “groin” passed inspection and we got on with our respective lives.

The new U-Scan for terrorism (my name, not theirs) is being tested in Las Vegas before rolling out to airports nationwide. Side note: Why can’t it be Celine Dion International Airport instead of named after longtime politician Harry Reid? It’s Vegas baby! Also, having flown out of that airport, I think most passengers are too hungover to fill out a luggage tag let alone perform highly sensitive security scans on themselves.

TSA is remarkably candid about this pilot program, admitting while it should make travel “faster and safer” it hasn’t been determined if that’s true.

Besides scanning yourself, any suspicious carry-on luggage is routed to a conveyor belt for screening by remote TSA agents who can now laugh out loud at the ridiculous things they see in your luggage. Yours, not mine. You really should be ashamed.

“Virtual agents” will greet passengers and answer questions with a live chat feature. I’ll almost miss the hilariously loud and perpetually snitty TSA agent who booms: “If you’re wearing a hoodie, TAKE IT OFF! TAKE IT OFF!”

It’s the rare traveler who doesn’t suddenly feel “this many” years old when yelled at by the TSA “welcoming committee.” You just want him to stop screaming at you.

On our return flight, I decided to upgrade our seats mostly because it took 6-foot-4 Duh Hubby a good 20 minutes to get the circulation back to his lower extremities after I opted for “Economy class” tickets. Duh spent three hours hopelessly cramped in a distant row while I dealt with a portly seatmate who — I swear this is true — lifted the seat arm between us, shamelessly positioned his “right flank” squarely onto my rightful seat and went to sleep.

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I discovered it would cost $70 each to sit together on the exit row, which has tons of extra leg room AND a free cocktail! Not until I was deep into my split of champagne with just a little O.J. did it occur to me how weird it is to give free drinks to the people you just asked to be in charge of getting everyone safely off the plane!

Does the wheel thingy that opens the door turn left or right? No matter. It’s a Boeing; it’ll fly off on its own … So there’s that.

Celia Rivenbark is a humor columnist and NYT-bestselling author. Write to her at celiarivenbark@gmail.com. 

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Celia Rivenbark: TSA to America: Go Scan Yourself

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