Friday, March 13, 2015

Checking My Gun Through Airport Security

The tall guy about ten people ahead of me in the security line was going to write this blog but he got detained.

Travel days are always stressful and going through the humiliation of airport security is always right in the middle of it. While waiting to pass though the nude-ifying body scanner I like to catch a glimpse of the x-ray monitor and try to figure out what is in each scanned bag, what the different colors mean and how someone can do that job for hours everyday.

By chance, the screen is turned a bit out and my view is good. Thriller-author Ken Follett has a great line he used in a couple of his books, “Then he saw what no man should see twice…” And today that was the case for the next scanned image showed a gun in the bag as blatant as smelly French cheese.

And in that long moment it took me to think, “is that really what I think I am seeing?, it’s a gun it’s a gun it’s a gun, it looks just like on a television crime show, so plain, too obvious, damn these x-ray machines work good!, so I wonder…”

The diligent TSA worker called over her supervisor who clicked off the image on the monitor. She alerted another officer with a nod of her head and they both went to greet the tall guy about ten people ahead of me who was going to write this blog.

The line stopped for almost five minutes. My view was blocked so I don’t know the rest of the story. You will have to make it up yourself.

When it happened to me I was passing through Nashville, Tennessee. I had spent a couple days with a friend playing music, well, harmonica really, with some local blues boys who were drunk enough to make me sound good.

I arrived early at the airport, got a coffee and copy of both Newsweek and Mac World. I passed calmly through security until one of two TSA officers approached me. “Is this your bag?”

My first instinct was to deny I had anything to do with that bag and run. But I knew the contents were harmless and my curiosity was peaked.

“Yes sir, that’s my bag.”
“Sir, do you have magazines in your bag?”
“Yes sir, I do.”
“Sir, could you please come with us.”

I felt as if I had slipped on a banana peel and was in mid air, slow motion, silent. What is different? I took a deep breath as one of the officers opened my bag on the counter between us and reached a hand inside. I don’t think he was asking about the Mac World.

My voice speaks without me thinking, “I’m sorry…, the harmonicas, I think that is what you’re seeing. I was thinking…” They interrupt me with smiles and relaxation. “Oh, yes,” as the hand pulls out two of the harps.

“I’d be happy to play one of them if you’d like,” I speak up with a smile.

“Oh no, that’s okay,” they laugh.

“You can keep the Mac World if you want…”


Harmonicas with bullets

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