Why & how the TSA fondled my underwear before flying on a big silver bird

Why & how the TSA fondled my underwear before flying on a big silver bird

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Let me state unequivocally. Unless there is some sort of geographical – emergency I will never fly commercially again. You can look at my LinkedIn profile and see that I spent my youth repossessing aircraft. I don’t mind flying – it’s the getting there commercially that’s annoying.

I was excited about going to Global Pet Expo in Orlando Florida even though I would be spending only one day at the show. I briefly thought about riding down on the Rocket but that would’ve added two additiinonal days I could not spare at this point in time.

Some of you may remember almost a year ago I made a 3300 mile round trip Rocket (motorcycle) ride with the goal of facilitating a plan for my mother’s move back to Chicago. So 2300 miles wasn’t out of the question.

I know I’m already sounding erratic as usual and so to tie up a couple of loose ends, when I took the motorcycle ride down to New Mexico I didn’t know what was going on so I also bought a “Non-refundable” round-trip air ticket which was expiring two weeks from now.

That was the nail in the coffin on the Rocket ride – free airfare – $166. Cheap right? I also decided I wanted to check a bag which is really with this rant is about. Extra bags are $25 – each way on Delta – not what the rant is about.

I had not been to Orlando for 20 years and never to the convention center which dwarfs McCormick Place in Chicago. I figured I’m going to a tradeshow – the hotel website Indicated it was close to the convention center but failed to disclose it was between the convention center and the airport and I literally ended up spending more on taxis than I did on the fricking plane ticket – Very steep learning curve – Car rental next time.

I am certain prisoner intake at Cook County jail is friendlier than going through TSA airport screening. Besides the long lines they use to arbitrarily pick people like me out of the line and have them take off their shoes.

Now everyone over the age of 12 has to remove their shoes and I wear Carolina 8823a logger boots with an 8 inch riser. The notebook computer has to come out of the computer bag go into a separate tub so basically between the computer by itself, the boots, the jacket, the computer case, the wallet and all the other crap you have to remove from your pockets it necessitates three tubs.

Men are required to remove their belts. I don’t wear a belt, I wear suspenders, those could stay on. I guess that means that IF you want to sneak contraband you should wear suspenders and not a belt somehow weaving it into your suspenders? I went through some sort of biometric 3 second body scan in a tube designed for a Schwarzenegger film – and so did everyone except for the children. The final insult is getting patted down just like on TV. I put on my most menacing scowl – they moved quickly.

Because you don’t know how long this is going to take, you get to the airport far too early and have way too much time to waste and if you haven’t had time to eat apparently there’s some sort of FAA regulation that Airport food can’t start at anything less than $9 but should be between $12 and $20 per meal per person. I pay .35 for a can of diet coke (case price) at Costco. I paid $2.82 for the same beverage in Orlando’s airport

It’s an hour long wait to go through security – then it’s an hour more until the plane boards and then you’re in another line for another 30 minutes to get onto the plane to squeeze into seats with total strangers – who cough.

Some airline marketing genius feels as though 200 human beings will become nutrient and fluid deficient in the one hour and six minutes we are in the air between Atlanta and Orlando which necessitates 4 Delta Airline employees to dispense water beverages and some sort of micro snack, then collect the garbage. The same people who do the tribal seat belt dance. 

Old guys like me remember seat belts weren’t even required in American cars until 1964. I spent a small fortune outfitting my 1956 pink Cadillac sedan Deville (Elvis’ was a 55) with replica Cadillac seatbelts.

Why do they assume we are dumbasses and we somehow forgot how to operate a seatbelt (now required on every car) since leaving the terrestrial vehicle that brought us to the airport? When the action in the aircraft morphs into a Diehard movie causing the cabin to depressurize triggering those yellow masks to drop out of the ceiling, do they think even without the riveting O2 mask demo we would look at that mask in the middle of all the pandemonium and say “what is that yellow cup and what should I do with it – I wish someone would have explained this to me”?

They wave their hands in the air pointing at various parts of the aircraft where emergency exits are . Once again during the pandemonium & depressurization I would just need to watch my Chrome book computer bag get sucked out into space to know where at least one emergency exit door had been. Why do I need to mentally recall the sultry arm dance of the exit doors when I can look for the word “Exit” on little signs all along the ceiling? Wouldn’t a simple video make tickets cheaper? 

Okay back on the road.

I wanted to check a bag for two reasons. First of all I’ve learned not to talk about politics on this blog and so there will be no talk of guns because everyone has an opinion on gun control. I will chat with you one-on-one but not in public about guns and ammunition.

But the only opinion people have about knives is typically which one to carve the turkey with and the relative importance of having a good feel for your home steak knives because you use them a lot (sorry vegetarians and vegans – we do have a butter knife episode coming to you below – no, seriously – butter knife episode below)

Full transparency, when you have about ½ million people looking at you on the World Wide Web you best be very transparent. Don’t ask me how or why but I’ve taken up knife throwing – as a sport.

It’s much harder than it looks in all of the YouTube videos. I’ve gotten a few sets of throwing knives from Amazon. Very inexpensive – under $10 for three knives. I’ve also got a couple of “boot knives” that clip into the top of those 8 inch Carolina logger boot risers.

In the rear building at the Birdie boutique there is a large 8’ x 8’ plywood wall which used to house large manzanita trunks we can no longer obtain. It’s the perfect practice knife target.

I use my tactical knife a lot around the shop and keep three in the car as all have tips that can break a car window in an emergency. I carry a box cutter too. That’s correct, I carry four knives with me most of the time. They are pretty inconspicuous and if you speak to any knowledgeable street fighter the first words of advice would be “run as fast as you can away from a knife fight”. They are defensive weapons IMHO.

I paid my due diligence and read the rules on the TSA website and the Delta Airlines website so there would be no mistakes. At the end of the day you can bring ammunition not a gun. You can bring knives and even swords including fencing swords which made perfect sense.

Anyone who travels knows how expensive alcohol can be. Being a lover of whiskey I am keenly aware of pricing knowing that travel alcohol at bars and restaurants in tourist destinations like Orlando are extraordinarily expensive. A glass (a shot) of Jameson’s whiskey is anywhere between $8 and $10 at a nice place.

I pay $.72 a shot when I buy it retail. Recently I’ve transitioned to Kirkland’s (Costco brand) 80 proof Scotch Whiskey and and have reduced my per shot down to $.34 – you get the picture. Plus I really didn’t want to travel with large glass bottles.

Healthful hint: 

I think of whiskey as a naturally fermented product just like yogurt and it has zero carbs so it’s diabetic (I’m type II) friendly – you’ve got to stay ahead of the curve friends.

With suitcases that I would’ve used for this trip in use elsewhere (long story) I drove to Target and bought one of those fancy four-wheel jobbies then wandered into the liquor aisle to see what bargains might be available.

That’s where the universe spoke. 375 mL bottles of Jameson were on sale for $10.99. Even though the 750 mL (the 1/5) bottles are usually between $19 to $24. The 375’s (1/2 the size) are usually between $15 and $17 and are rare. I bought 4. I paid my due diligence using targets free Wi-Fi. I rechecked the TSA site for alcohol regulations while in the alcohol aisle (art imitating life?).

I found this information:

Am I allowed to carry alcohol on a flight?

Passengers are allowed to carry alcohol on a flight, both in carry-on and checked baggage, as long as you are of legal drinking age and follow any applicable rules. In general, alcohol must be transported in its original, unopened container.

Can I bring any type of alcohol on the plane?

If your booze is unopened and 140 proof or less, you can safely bring your alcohol on board. Anything over 140 proof is prohibited, though, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Not in the mood for moonshine, I was golden.

I got home and put each of the small soldiers into its own sock. I put the three knives in their own sock (I wouldn’t be opening boxes). Even though I was only going for two nights I grabbed a weeks worth of underwear and T-shirts to pad the bottles. Being familiar with the strength of these bottles I did not put them in plastic bags before placing them in the socks.

When I got to Orlando Intl Airport it was late. I was tired. It was a new suitcase and the serpentine luggage line was very long. You know you get this little voice in the back of your head like somebody’s going to approach you shortly and say “please come with us Mr. Rezman we need to talk about the contents of your suitcase.”

Certain to provoke a private underwear fondling by the TSA

But I saw the parrot eye on the business card cable tied to a carry handle on the new suitcase all the way across two rows of conveyors and patiently waited for the bag to snake its way towards me. 

Paying for my first $50 cab ride to the hotel then impatiently waiting for the desk clerk to finish what nonsense she was doing to check me in so I could go to my room and savor the Jameson’s I had worked so hard to transport.

Being a seasoned (terrestrial) traveler I found the suitcase stand, unzipped the new suitcase getting ready to toast my arrival in Orlando when this document fluttered out of the suitcase.

Not surprising given the half a dozen bottles of five hour energy and a 7 inch beard trimming scissors along with the whiskey & weapons, I can see where that would make a really charming x-ray image to people In charge of the security for our commercial airways.

So yes Amanda, the TSA did have their hands in that extra week’s worth of my underwear. It was their duty to fondle my delicates inspecting for weapons and whiskey. Good for them – they are on their game!

Keeping score – re:

If your booze is unopened ” This is where you look closely at the picture of the four 375 mL bottles of Jameson’s (above) taken back home. The two left soldiers are empty and the third from the left has a good head start

a) so much for rules

  1. b) I was alone in a hotel room in a strange city for two nights – thank you very much.

This knife thing.

I’m teaching myself about knives, they are interesting – to me. I like doing research. I do research for you – I do research for me – I do it for fun.

So you’ll probably be as surprised as I was – listen up you vegetarians and vegans. You don’t have to own a set of thick wooden handle steak knives should you become beset by a zombie attack.

The TSA official webpage makes It is clear that pointed knives cannot reside in a carry-on bag, “Except plastic and round bladed butter knives” are almost encouraged.

This was surprising based upon my recent personal knowledge base enhancement about how (solid handle) butter knives – you know those knives that EVERYONE has in their kitchen?

make excellent beginners THROWING KNIVES made clear in the video above.

We value the TSA for keeping the skies safe. I’ll take my chances on two wheels at 90 miles an hour thank you.
end rant

written by mitch rezman
approved by – no one on the team would touch this

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