Dear TSA: Put a suitcase on my laptop, get verbally destroyed
I’m getting sharper at honing in on the emotional weaknesses of TSA agents, and exploiting them. I’m talking about going for the throat.
Last month I flew out of Phoenix. And that morning, I gave the TSA a little jetsetting terrorist rage for breakfast.
The most enraging example of TSA hubris ever
If you put suction cups on my head and monitored my vital signs while I’m going through security, you would find they spike just as I exit the body scanner. This is the stressed anticipation of something the TSA does about 20% of the time.
To set the scene: People on The List are not allowed to touch their own belongings once they pass through the X-ray. So after clearing the body scanner, they ask you to point to which bins are yours while they start stacking them on top of each other. And very often, the one with your laptop often ends up on the bottom. With 10, 20, or 30 pounds of weight on top.
I don’t handle that well. Nearly all of my most heated, Alex Jones moments come when they put things on my laptop. You don’t put things on a laptop.
You don’t have to be a laptop jockey to grasp that putting several bins and a suitcase on top of an electronic device will do some damage. The TSA aren’t merely computer illiterate. They’re lawless, arrogant, antagonistic bullies who want to destroy your things and get twisted pleasure from it.
So in a shameless example of losing the moral high ground, I get a similar pleasure from making them feel as small and unloved as they are. Which is what I did this day. The moral high ground is overrated anyway…
That day, they pulled some weird move where they had me put everything into bins off to the side, away from everyone else. Then a TSA agent started to stack the bins to bring them to the x-ray. As soon as I saw this woman’s cowardly prison guard swagger, I braced myself for what I knew was coming.
She put the bin with my backpack on top of the bin with my jacket and shoes. Then she put my carry on suitcase on top of that. Then she put all of it on top of my laptop.
Warning: I get very verbally (and physically) ungraceful here
What I did next was reflexive, and probably would have gotten me shot if she was a real cop. I lunged over, pulled the bins from her hand, taking everything off my laptop as she jumped backwards.
“WHAT THE **** ARE YOU DOING?! GET THE **** AWAY FROM MY THINGS! “
Look, if you wanted great oratory, there’s Churchill speeches on You Tube. This was low-rent rage.
“Get another agent over here. You’re not touching anything I own.”
She was kind of standing back, fazed. Another TSA guy was walking my way briskly, so I turned to him-
‘She just put 30 pounds of luggage on my laptop. Get her out of here. She’s not coming near my things.”
“Oh god,” she said, rolling here eyes now. “Give me a break.”
Egregious lack of regard and raging hubris? Hold. Me. Back.
“Your pathetic agency losing in court yesterday didn’t embarrass you enough? Need to take it out on the US citizens to feel good about yourself?”
I forgot to mention that part. This was the day after some big court case regarding the TSA. They lost. I didn’t even get past the headline, but I know it was a TSA defeat.
“I’m done.” She said. “I don’t have to take this from him. I don’t need to let anyone talk to me like that.”
She stormed off, while another agent consoled her. (“Just walk away Rachel. Just walk away. It’s okay.“) She didn’t come back.
Listen up TSA: Put a suitcase on my laptop, get verbally destroyed. That’s the package deal. No exceptions.