Tag Archives: Omaha

My Intimate Moment with the TSA (Spoiler – The agent almost made it to third base)

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.


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NSA Saves Billions Converting to “Buddy System”

Buddy System

The NSA announced yesterday it would significantly change the way it spies on the intimate personal details of Americans.  This change is expected to save billions of dollars.  Traditionally, the agency has used high-tech eavesdropping electronics to sweep through trillions of phone calls, emails and other electronic communications and store the data in enormous “data farms” in places where no one lives, like Iowa and New Mexico.  That will change.  Borrowing from the tried and true system developed by the Boy Scouts over a hundred years ago, the agency will now convert to the Buddy System, or “BS” for short.

The new BS system works on a voluntary basis which will be mandatory.  The NSA will randomly pair United States residents with one another.  Those residents in turn keep an eye on their assigned partner, or in BS parlance, “Buddy.”  They read each of their buddy’s emails, text messages and listen in on telephone calls.  And if they happen to be passing near their buddy’s home, they are encouraged to drop by unannounced to just say “hi,” and poke around a bit.  See what’s on the bookshelf, check the medicine cabinet, or if they get a chance, the underwear drawer.  And if a buddy is unwilling to share his or her passwords, they are instructed to immediately submit Form BS-99 to NSA headquarters.  That will “red flag” the person, and automatically place the non-compliant buddy on the no-fly list.

“Patriotic Americans are overwhelmingly supportive of the new system,” announced Frank Eavesdorper, NSA Chief of Homeland Operations.  “Citizens are willing to pay any price to keep the liberty their forefathers died to obtain.  I hear it again and again: ‘I have nothing to hide!  Come into my house.  Search through my family’s photographs.  Copy my computer’s hard drive.’  It brings a tear to my eye.”

The system isn’t perfected yet.  During testing, a few glitches arose.  Ricky, a 19-year-old from Newark complained to his NSA minder about having to read too many emails of his buddy, Betty, a 53-year-old from Houston, about her on-going menopausal issues, in particular, her continual hot flashes.  Bob, a 63-year-old long haul trucker from Seattle, likewise complained about his buddy, Candi, a 13-year-old middle school student from Omaha.  Apparently, Bob was having to sift through upwards of 100 text messages a day from Candi to her BFF Kathi, about their “dreamy” classmate Jack, and in particular, how Jack’s attention had recently been turned toward Charlene.  Of great concern was the fact that Jack had already eaten lunch with Charlene three times this week.  Then there was the unfortunate pairing of two Russian immigrants, one of whom, unbeknownst to the NSA, had been a bank robber back in the Ukraine (No fault to the NSA; he had “expunged” his record prior to immigrating via a wheelbarrow of rubles to a guy named Gladov at the Central Office).  One thing led to the next, and before authorities caught up to them at a Hooters in New Orleans, the two had gone on a three-state robbery spree.

“The new system is a work in progress,” explained CHO Eavesdorper.  “There are bound to be problems when you are stepping up to the herculean task of cataloging and storing the most private details of people’s lives.  But we’ll prevail.  Americans aren’t quitters.  We’ll ‘getter done.’

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