fun with the TSA agent

K, so my wife's up in our old neighborhood accidentally running into a couple of my best friends at the bar, and I'm sitting in a hotel room on the east coast, waiting for time to pass so I can wake up tomorrow and go to Breitling. She wins, I lose.

My day started with excellent travel plan executed flawlessly, save for a treacherous TSA agent in Fort Myers.

I'd left my cell phone in my pocket by mistake and when I went through the beeper thing it went off. So I stepped back, he asked if I had anything in my pocket and I was like "Oh." when I found my phone, and put it in a basket. Then the guy goes "Place it on the conveyor." I looked over at the conveyor and on it there were bags jammed together and nothing but floppy edges and uneven surfaces. He was asking, no, ordering me (What is up with the army-type shit? You don't order people to do stuff. This is a civil society, right? I feel like the message that we all know, and no one wants to admit is, no, it's all martial and has been for a while.), to put my wallet and cell phone and keys and stuff in that little plastic tray and risk it just tipping over and spilling all over deep in the guts of the crazy bomb detector. I apprised him of this. "Yeah, but it's full of people's stuff, look at it..."

"PLACE IT ON THE CONVEYOR!" I looked at him. This is what people do when other people shout at them. That's one of the main reasons shouting was invented, to get people to look at you. Not an impressive looking man, in any way at all. Shortish, late forties, unhappy. Your typical person.

I don't like being shouted at, especially if I haven't screwed something expensive up several times in a row due to gross negligence or am hurting someone by accident, which I never do, because I pay attention. Fuck being shouted at.

So I did the only thing there was to do, put the tray down at about a forty five degree angle, the only angle available, on top of someone's bag who was just going to get to steal my shit on the other side, and walked back up to the beeper-gate thing with the guy on the other side and looked at him. I looked right in his eyes as deeply as I possibly could, the way I look at myself in the mirror when I practice burning a hole in the universe, and said "Whatever you want" in a calculated voice.

I should tell you that of all the things I am good at, I do none of them even half as well as I piss off people who deserve to be aggravated. If there was a way to measure this ability I'd be dramatically world-class. The look I gave the guy, the unmistakable tone in my voice and the almost imperceptible contempt in my sidle, sent the man into the red.

"Step over there, please." He pointed with his device to an area in the middle, obviously singling me out for punishment. I had been bad and he had said please. I didn't believe that please for a second.

Then he shouted again. "MALE ASSIST!" Until this point I hadn't given a shit about this man at all. Just a guy who would probably rather not have to go to work at three o'clock on a sunday morning. Actually at this point I still didn't. But he couldn't resist shouting one more thing as I passed him: "We got an ATTITUDE PROBLEM!!!"

My jaw dropped and I turned to look at him as I walked into the glassed area. I'd been shouted at by a very stupid, petty man, with poor impulse control. If that's the caliber individual who's supposed to be keeping America safe, we're all fucked.

Then a perfectly helpful guy came over and as much as a "male assist" can be said to be actually assisting in anything, it was. I raised my arms and he patted me down and rolled his eyes with his whole body. He was a stand-up guy. I liked him so much I told him that his coworker had a Napoleonic disorder. He didn't say anything but I could tell he agreed. That other guy, though, ought to be thankful he's so ordinary and forgettable. If I had half the chance I'd do the only honorable thing and run him right off the road if I saw him out driving around. He wanted to ruin my morning. What a piece of shit.

This mean little man would love to have more power in his life, and we've already seen what would happen if he got it. Typical beta male, gotta fuck with me because in a very real way, I own his ass. One of the great things about living in a liberal democracy is that power tends not to over-accumulate, and we avoid having gangs of official thugs cracking skulls, and that's good. There are still plenty of bad eggs, and a lot of them wind up as cops. But for today, I'm just glad there's still enough common sense in the world to keep someone stupid from hitting me. I expect this to change over the next twenty years. Gotta get my licks in while it's still safe.

I'm not sure when it started but I was in my twenties, but I see far more value in dying for a cause than in killing for one. And every time I make idiots taste blood from wanting to hurt me and being restrained by liberalism, by the rules of a civil society, I win. I've won a lot, because I'm not afraid, or at least less afraid of an altercation than the guys who get so pissed off. All told, I'd estimate I've earned being beaten to death twice over in terms of making lots of stupid people very angry, but they all had it coming.

Apology: this story would have been better if I'd been telling it to some friends at the bar.


At Monday, April 23, 2007, Blogger hank. said...

what a dick. "attitude problem"? that man HAS to be hated by the other tsa people.


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