I Learned A Secret About The TSA

I traveled to Chicago over the weekend, and while I learned many things at the BlogHer ’13 conference, no tip was more shocking that my TSA security tidbit.

When I approach the airport security line, my anxiety is pretty high. There are X-ray machine and rules being yelled at me and so many bare feet my eyes burn. I’m usually negotiating my feelings over my laptop and shoes I’m sending away (BE CAREFUL! SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF X-RAY, BOO BEARS!), and helping my two kids who can’t hold my hand through the metal detectors and where sometimes TSA officials make me go first, which works great, and something TSA officials make my kids go first, which works not so great. Whenever I try to explain the order of greatness, I’m told: We know what we we’re doing, ma’am. Now this response is surprising since I didn’t know I had been co-parenting with the Transport Security Administration all these years.

I may dislike feeling so powerless for 15 minutes, but I am adept at holding my tongue mostly because I have other people counting on me to not get interrogated. Plus, what’s my dignity for the chance to fly across the country?

However, on this last trip, I discovered something that turned the tables a bit.

When TSA security says, Remove everything from your pockets, I always check mine 4-5 times because pleasedontbeepsomeoneinmypartyhastopee. But this last go through, my husband discovered a weird bump in the zippered compartment only fugly camping cargo shorts would provide.

Scott reached in slowly poking the spot for a moment before that sigh of relief when he realize an old lighter fluid container wasn’t trapped in there. It was just a wad of cash.

The combination of being relieved he hadn’t attempted to bring bomb-making paraphernalia through airport security as well as the concerned someone would still question what was in his pocket, my husband pulled out the giant ball of money and reached towards the closest airport security guard to show him pocket-sized innocence only to watch dumbfounded as the TSA official hysterically threw his hands in the air yelling DON’T GIVE ME THAT and stumbled into an X-ray machine to get away.

Scott put the it back in his pocket, and we all enjoyed carrying more than a wad of cash through airport security that day.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

15 thoughts to “I Learned A Secret About The TSA”

  1. What the heck… I think that maybe the TSA agent was a little on edge that day. LOL!

    I hate going through there too. I’ve found that the smaller airports are MUCH easier to get through and they don’t seem to hassle you as much.

  2. Remember, when they say “We know what we we’re doing, ma’am”, they are lying. And I say it with all sympathy for the scope and scale of the job. TSA is a disaster of security theater and I’ve seen the rules (or the enforcement of the rules) change from airport to airport *on the same trip.*

    I’d rather drive ten hours from point to point than fly from the same point to point.

    1. Jeb, forget airport to airport. Same airport, agent to agent, the rules are different. The TSA would be a joke if it were funny, but it’s not. If the TSA were a horse, it would be made into glue.

    2. I’ve seen different enforcement and responses, too. Moods of the agents (which is human but the TSA has so much power it’s freaky), misunderstandings about what’s okay, rules changing too often, too many rules. I know their job is hard, but I wish it was handled better.

  3. The TSA has been the target of many people trying to get them in trouble for taking bribes and other items. Your husband probably completely freaked out that guy with his wad of cash. But to tell the truth, I would have been freaked out by that, as well. I see so little cash these days!

  4. This year when we left CA my MIL gave us 2 bottles of water. I took them because arguing is futile. So, I told my husband we would just leave them at the hotel because we can’t take bottles of water through airport security. As I was repacking and checking bags I found the bottled water packed in my the carry on. I took it out and told my husband (again) that we couldn’t take it through security. We get through security at the airport, but there is my bag waiting to be manually inspected. I am held up while my husband and daughter take off to put shoes on and get reorganized. The TSA agent pulls out two bottles of water and lectures me that we can’t take bottled water through security. She invites me to leave the security area, drink the water, and then get back in line to go through security again. I told her she could toss the water. Next year I am bringing a carry on with a lock to keep my husband out of it!

    1. HAHA! You have the best stories.

      PS. I accidentally left a water bottle in my carryon and they told me the same thing (step out of line and drink it and come back through) — what? Has anyone EVER taken them up on that?

  5. I took the train. I was “randomly chosen,” and they had to “see my bags.” Little did I know… they literally meant see my bags.

    “Please place the small ones on the table and the suitcase next to the table.”

    Brief glance at all three (11 seconds, max.)

    “Thank you. You’re all set.”

    Either that’s the easiest security I’ve ever seen or that table is a prototype of epic proportions, designed to look like an almost collapsed card table. (also? Yay for wads of cash!)

  6. It hurts me physically to take my laptop out of its safe cocoon in my bag and lay it in the cold, hard bin. Pushing it onto the belt? It feels eerily like the day my firstborn went off to kindergarten, his blue lunchbox bumping against his knees. Stay safe, sweet MacBook! Don’t let the x-ray zap your guts!

    I never found a wad of cash in my pocket at security, though. I’m feeling a little robbed.

  7. bahahahahahahahahahahah. If I ever dare to fly with my kids again (this is coming from the girl that is voluntarily driving across the country AGAIN with her four kids rather than deal with TSA and autism on a flight) I’m totally going to pack little balls of cash to throw at TSA agents. Seems like a great amount of fun.

    1. I’d much rather drive, too. Planes can’t stop so I can stretch my legs, and I can only carry-on so many bribes for my potentially freaking-out kids.
      PS. You better believe I’ll have cash next time I fly just in case a TSA agent gets a little too pushy. It was kinda awesome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.