New Episode Of “People Who Think Everything’s A Bomb”: iPod Jihad

Jul 8, 2017 by

New Episode Of “People Who Think Everything’s A Bomb”: iPod Jihad

The star of this story is the iPod my mom got me for Christmas. I loaded it with Anthony Robbins seminars and went to board my flight home.

At security and the TSA’s luggage vivisection quickly went into full swing. The obligatory “electronics pile” was created, occupied by my laptop, cell phone, portable document scanner, some business-related device it would take too long to explain, and the iPod.

(Background: New-ish TSA rules treat all electronic devices like suspected bombs or something.)

The final stage of this indignity is where they ask me to turn on each device to prove its real.

We get to my iPod, and it’s dead.

There is an unspoken motto within the TSA that goes – “When in doubt, err on the side of complicated and stupid.” I knew this was about to go poorly.

I went to plug the cord into my laptop to turn it on.

“I’ll just need to charge it for 30 seconds.”

He put out his hand.

“I can’t have you do that.”

Here we go.


The quickest way to embarrass the TSA is with that word.

“I can give you two options. Surrender the device; or take it outside, charge it, and bring it back. You’ll have to go through the line again.”

“I can charge it here. It will take 60 seconds.”

“I can’t let you do that.”


“It’s a safety issue. We don’t know what will happen when it turns on.”

“You just asked me to turn it on. We’re only having this conversation because you want me to turn it on.”

“Those are the rules.”

He pointed to a back door 10 feet away. I could charge my iPod anywhere on the other side of that door, he said.

Just for fun, I had to verbally walk him through this absurd scene. You never know when the contradictions of one’s life get so severe, they’ll just crumble to the ground in tears.

Hoping for a moment of awakening, I’d settle for just the tears.

“So I can’t charge it on this side of the wall.”


“But I can charge it on that side of the wall.”


“And I have to go through this whole thing again.”


“And I can’t leave my luggage here to avoid that.”


“And I’ll have to wait in line again.”


“And go through everything again.”


“And charging it here then turning it on here is a security issue but charging it 10 feet away and turning it on here is totally safe.”

“Those are the rules.”

Let’s play a game…

“TSA or Borat Parody of TSA.” I recount conversations, you make a guess.

You’ll never get it more than 50% right.

-Jetsetting Terrorist

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