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|| News Item: Posted 2004-01-29

The Road Warrior: Airport screening
By Mongo Johnson

Photo by
So I'm standing in a short line for screening by the TSA and the person manning the MAG is bellowing "we encourage you to take off your shoes for screening", "it's not mandatory but you may be selected for secondary screening"

Now I happen to know that my shoes have no detectable metal mass, so I decline to take off my shoes (and I had an extra hour to kill till my flight was boarding anyhow) Sure enough as soon as I step through the MAG which I might add doesn't chirp, I'm waved over to the secondary screening area.

The screener has me sit down and raise my feet; he runs the wand over my shoes. Keep in mind that 97 Nike AIR JORDANS have NO metal in then, zip, nada, nothing; even the lace eyes are fabric.

TSA - "Sir, I'll need you take off your shoes"

MOI - "Why? Your gizmo didn't go beep.

TSA - "Yes it did"

MOI - "I didn't hear it"

TSA - "I did" (big bushy eyebrows furrowed)

MOI - (thinking to myself) What? Did it chirp at a frequency that only dogs and screeners could hear?

So I take off my shoes, and they put them into a plastic tub, run it thru the scanner, which shows what I had maintained all along "there's no detectable metal mass"

What really pisses me off is that if they wanted me to take off my shoes why the fuck don't they just say take off your shoes?

Now while all this is going on, I notice that my backpack has gone thru the machine and a TSA inspector has pulled it aside for re-screening.

The screener asks if it's my bag, I nod, he then proceeds to pull a GLASS bottle out of the side pocket of the pack and sets it down on the table. He then runs my bag thru the machine again and hands it back to me, and doesn't EVEN ask about what's in the dark glass bottle!!!

In case you haven't been following the TSA beverage follies, here's a recap;

You can't go thru screening with a plastic cup, beverages have to be in a paper cup.


That's a good question, so I asked.

Corrosive chemicals can be transported in a plastic cup but paper cups will disintegrate.

Gee, are you getting the picture now? I could have had hydrochloric acid in that glass bottle and all they're worried about are my 6-year-old stinky sneakers!!!

(Mongo Johnson is a regular contributor to the Sports Shooter Newsletter on travel-related issues. He is a former Hollywood stuntman, working in such hit films as "Kangaroo Jack", "Grumpier Old Men" and "Pam & Tommy Lee: Stolen Honeymoon". Currently Johnson works as a travel consultant, specializing in cruises to distant and remote locations.)

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