My Shoes Tested Positive For Explosives

Sep 11, 2014 by

My Shoes Tested Positive For Explosives

Denver should know better. They’re like the 5th busiest airport in the US or something. So why did they swab my shoes?

Here’s how it’s supposed to work: When they’re ripping my luggage apart, they’re swabbing everything. And they put their swab pads in a machine that tests it for explosive residue.

Since popular wisdom says there’s one thousand things you can get at a pharmacy or hardware store that you can make a bomb with, I always expect to test positive for something. But it never happened. Until Denver.


As soon as I saw the guy swabbing the bottom of my shoes, I knew it was trouble. They never swab the shoes. Testing your shoes means you’re not just accountable for what you’ve touched, but what every single person who has stepped anywhere you’ve stepped has stepped in, on, or around. If you follow.

The agent put the swab pad in the the machine, which promptly made a very loud and menacing sound. Agents huddled around it.

“Mister Young, come with us. We’re giving you some additional screening.”

They took me into a windowless back room and closed the door. This was the elusive third-tier of TSA screening. Where the real terrorists go.

“Our machine tested you positive for…. some residue, so we’re going to need to do some more tests.”

I prepared for vivisection.

Two TSA agents pulled everything out of my bags and began swabbing everything. Vigorously.

“I go through this all the time.” I said. “You’re not supposed to test shoes. Read the manual. There’s no way it tells you to test the shoes.”

“I do this every day.” he said.

He was lying. There’s no way their manual says to swab the shoes.

“There’s no way your manual tells you to swab the shoes.”

And they both knew it, because when they finished, they had re-swabbed everything I had… except the shoes.

And that’s how I boarded an airplane with explosives on my shoes.

Terrorists = 1, TSA = 0.



-Jetsetting Terrorist

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  1. CSusan

    Clove cigarette residue. Years ago when I still smoked, that would get me every time. And the stuff clings like gum in hair.

  2. Jim A.

    Fertilizer will give a positive result on swab tests. (Hey fertilizer worked on the Murrah Buliding) so swabbing shoes is a bad idea, unless you’re trying to catch people for walking on the grass.

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