I have never felt so close to the TSA as I did when they required me to undergo an “enhanced” search to board a flight to, of all places, Omaha. I’m not saying that the TSA agent did anything wrong. But, to describe the search in high school terms, by the time he finished, he had rounded second base and was headed to third. By the end of his search, this agent knew me – he knew me VERY well. I hadn’t been examined this thoroughly since my last colonoscopy.
The reason for my intimate encounter was that I had just renewed my driver’s license.
I had a temporary paper license. I presented the TSA agent with my temporary license and my old plastic license. My old license had a hole in it where it said my date of birth. The DMV employee punched it out when he issued me my temporary license. The TSA guy told me that a paper license wasn’t acceptable, and my old license would have been acceptable, but since the date of birth was punched out, I couldn’t use that either. I tried to reason with the agent that the two documents together surely established my identity. The agent completely agreed, but said he had to follow the rules. He told me he’d call a supervisor to come talk to me.
(As an aside, you might ask, why didn’t you just take your passport with you? There is a simple reason for that. It’s called, “I’m an idiot.”)
After waiting for what seemed like an hour but was probably ten minutes, another TSA agent walked up to me. I explained my story. I then awaited his ruling. He told me that he completely agreed with me. He then told me that he wasn’t the supervisor. He said he just heard what was going on and walked over to check it out.
I had become a TSA roadside attraction.
An hour later (ten more minutes), the supervisor showed up. I was relieved that he too agreed the rule was stupid. He then explained that he could only let me through if I would consent to “voluntarily” get “felt up.” For the record, he did not use the term “felt up.” While accurate, that would have violated TSA policy.
Once I arrived in, of all places, Omaha. I went online so that I could cite official line and verse to any TSA agent who dared to reject my ID on my return flight, and tell them that they darn well would accept it. It only took a few minutes to clearly and unambiguously establish that my ID was NOT acceptable.
Great, I thought, I’m going get felt up again.
A couple of days later, I was inching my way along the TSA line with no small amount of trepidation. I reached the TSA stand and handed the agent my faulty paper work. Then I stood there like a sap awaiting my fate. The agent looked at my temporary paper license. Then he looked at my canceled plastic license with the punched out hole. (By this time, the punched hole looked to me like it was roughly the size Australia.) The agent then looked up at me sternly, and said in a very official tone, “Have a nice flight.”
God bless, of all places, Omaha.