Trailer trash, troglodytes,
trials and turkey: Thanksgiving
No imaginary level of safety is worth the
trials and tribulations of air travel these days. The news can parade out
all the human sheep to bleat about
how the extra security measures are worth
their weight in lost human dignity, but to me it all had the feel of the
beatings we got as kids: painful,
unnecessary and, of course, "for our own
I was on my way to spend the holiday with
the vast collection of trailer trash I refer to, when I'm feeling charitable,
as my relatives. On the advice of those
who've traveled since Sept. 11, I arrived
at the airport three hours early.
The first thing I noticed at the airport,
and also the scariest thing I noticed at the airport, was all the National
Guardsmen walking around with
semi-automatic weaponry. Not to sound
like too much of a snob, but I can bloody well assure you that anyone whose
IQ and shoe size are equivalent is
the last person I'd trust to run crowd
control with an assault rifle.
Recall what happened to your high school
classmates after graduation. Some went to college, others got minimum-wage
jobs; the more brutal and
insipid became cops; those too half-witted
to be cops joined the military. And those who couldn't even scrap together
the brain cells to blow up people
halfway around the world stayed at home
and signed up with the National Guard.
And there they were, wandering around the
airport with fully loaded firearms. A great big pat on the back to whatever
genius thought heavily armed
troglodytes would make us all feel safer.
The next great affront to common sense
and human dignity came at the security checkpoint. With the new and improved
security measures, I got to wait
in line for one-and-a-half hours while
damn near everybody set off the metal detectors and got a brisk pat-down.
This especially included any females wearing
under-wire bras and, as I was later told by a flight attendant, has reportedly
led to many complaints about
women being groped by security workers.
After getting my own pat-down — during
which I made sure to moan pleasurably — I was allowed to go wait in line
at my terminal. There I was
"randomly selected" to be searched even
further behind a portable wall o' privacy. This way, no one except the
security worker, myself and the National
Guardsman watching ever-so-intently could
see my possessions as they were removed from my backpack a piece at a time
and unfolded — in case a
detonator was going to miraculously fall
out of my old T-shirts.
Getting on the plane required two forms
of photo ID, as if I were writing bad checks instead of boarding an aircraft.
We could not use the bathrooms at
the front of the plane, and the pilot
assured us he possessed a stun gun in case someone got past the deadbolts
on the cockpit door.
If only they'd let the passengers borrow
the stun guns, I wished in vain, since we hadn't been in the air for 30
seconds before the old woman sitting next
to me turned and asked if I knew Jesus
Next year it's Amtrak for me.
Woock, a senior psychology major,
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.