27 November 2010

The Friendly Skies

No fun for anybody

The holiday travel season has begun in the United States, and this year it’s marked by new security measures, including full-body scans and pat-downs at airport checkpoints. Many Americans are protesting these measures, saying they’re intrusive, immodest, unhealthy, and probably not effective. Sadly, I’m unable to judge, because — despite taking sev­er­al plane trips in recent weeks — I haven’t been patted down, and if any­body used a full-body scanner on me, I didn’t see it.

However, I did get a look at my fellow travelers, and I must say to you now, Mr. and Ms. Mid-America, that absolutely nobody wants to see or touch your fat ass: you are in lamentable shape, and if anybody (in­clud­ing your spouse) comes near you, it’s strictly from an ir­re­proach­a­ble, altruistic, and possibly heroic sense of duty. Admit it. The truth is, you’re only protesting the new security measures because you’re em­bar­rassed about how terrible you look. But as Mom and Dad used to say, you should have thought of that before you left for the airport, shouldn’t you?

Don’t think, however, that — just because I have a 30-inch waist and weigh less than I did in high school — I am unsympathetic to your dis­com­fort. That’s why I have come up with the following, ingenious solu­tion to make airport security more fun for everybody.

Clearly concealing something

Solution 1: The Full-Somebody-Else’s-Body Scan
The TSA has inaugurated full-body scans not because it wants to look at your junk, but because it wants to see whether you’ve got any dangerous material concealed anywhere on your person. They don’t want to see you — and why should they? With my proposed technology, the scan­ning device will superimpose X-ray images of the aforementioned dan­ger­ous materials — over a stock image of man or woman who is much more attractive than you will ever be. Indeed, I believe that the use of such stock images (such as these, of pop singer Beyoncé Knowles and fashion model Carlos Freire) might actually compel security agents to pay closer than usual attention to the scan­ning device, making air travel even safer for everyone.

In urgent need of frisking

Solution 2: Pat-a-Cake Pat-Downs
Much of the problem with pat-downs is psychological: the traveler feels humiliated not only because s/he is a fat slob, but also because s/he is being treated like a potential terrorist. So why not allow passengers to feel better about themselves — by feeling about the security agents? For every pat received during the pat-down, a pat may be given by the pas­sen­ger to the agent conducting the search. Basically, it’s like the baby game of pat-a-cake, only you’d be using the entire body. Agents* would be discouraged from engaging in excessive, unnecessary, or im­prop­er pats, while passengers would play a more active part in keeping the skies safe.

And by bringing so many Americans together in the War on Terror, could­n’t we do wonders for this country’s patriotic morale!

My turn next!

*NOTE: Based on the random sampling I’ve seen in American air­ports, the percentage of security agents who are built like Greek gods is zero. When it comes to being fat slobs, they have as much to hide as you do, folks.

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