This week I am in Virginia, away from my home in sunny California.
As anyone who has flow in the last two years or so knows, this requires heavy interaction with the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). This process, which I'll now refer to as the "pre-travel hazing ritual," begins with standing in line waiting to show your identification and air ticket. While waiting in line I was subjected to the visual assault of the TSA employees. Besides my slightly apparent swole there is nothing particularly peculiar about my appearance.
Other than my swole I am bland.
So why was I then eyeballed like I was some terror suspect? Like I was some European terrorist out of a Die Hard movie plotting on hijacking an airplane.
After the waiting and visual abuse I handed the swole subjugator my I.D. and plane ticket. "What are your reasons for traveling today?" She asked.
Silence. "... proceed." She ordered.
Next came the backscatter body scanner. Great. Now my body will be viewed, naked. My swole subjected to these strangers. I stepped into the machine, it spun quickly around me, and I was ordered to step out. The TSA agent then gave me a quick look up and down. What for? She had already violated my Fourth Amendment rights. She had essentially just seen me nude.
Yet she checks me out? Unprofessional as can be.
Now the greatest part!
My lifting belt was in my carry on. Being a short trip I only packed one small bag and it was coiled up inside of my bag beneath my spare clothes. Somehow these geniuses determined that it looked "suspicious" and "resembled an explosive device." And that "they had to take precautionary measures to determine the safety of my baggage." Meanwhile the entire TSA staff was eye-fucking me like I was a Brazzers actress.
Seriously. That's what they told me after the following events.
I was ordered to a physical search area. In full view of the rest of the passengers I was to stand next to my bag as a TSA agent emptied out a majority of the contents and placed them into bins to be rescanned. Underwear, various paperwork, reading material, and other lifting related accessories thrown out onto the table for all to see.
For all to pass jugement on. Luckily I wasn't the subject of a pat down or worse yet, a nude or cavity search. (Had they performed one they would have found the balloon of Jack3d I was rectally smuggling.)
As other passengers walked by I stood there idly waiting for my lifting belt and bag to be rescanned. Not only that, they took swabs of the belt and the inside of the bag to be scanned for explosive materials; good thing gym chalk isn't similar to urea nitrate. All this was done apparently, because upon visual examination, they couldn't determine whether or not it was in fact a belt or some kind of high tech improvised explosive device.
That day was the single most humiliating day I've had in quite some time.
Yes, my leather lifting belt is an explosive device and I'm a Soviet agent sent into the future from the year 1982 with the sole mission to blow up a small plane carrying less than 30 passengers on a short regional flight from one small air port to a larger hub.
Quite the terror plot.