Thursday, December 16, 2010

Toiletries for the Needy at the TSA by MIKE BUZZELLI

From the

Mention "the airlines" in a comedy club, and there is a collective groan from the back row.
Ever since the '60s, it's hackneyed for a comedian to talk about the airlines. Usually, they make fun of the airplane food. As a matter of fact, if any comedian tells a stale joke, you're likely to hear, "That's so hack, next thing you know he's going to do 10 minutes on airline food."
It is with some trepidation that I bring up the subject of the airlines.
We are never going back to the days before 9/11. It's been nearly 10 years, and it is still sinking in.

I now know I'll never be able to take food from home on an airplane. I can't bring a bottle of water from home, but I can buy one at the Au Bon Pain in the airport for about as much as I paid for the whole case at Costco or Target.
If I want to go somewhere overnight, I have to buy disposable razor blades when I land, unless I want to check my carry-on.
They are minor inconveniences of the new world order. I just keep forgetting. I'm curious about the amount of shaving cream, disposable razor blades and fingernail clippers the Transportation Security Administration agents have collected. Is it going to a giant landfill? Are the sales for fingernail clippers and Swiss Army knives on the rise?
I hope no one is using recycled fingernail clippers. That's just gross.
My neighbor was telling me he buys a new pocketknife every time he comes back from vacation, because he keeps forgetting to take it off his key ring. To the TSA, a bottle opener is a weapon.
It's a sorry terrorist who will have to say, "I'm going to shake this beer bottle vigorously and then you're going to get it. Oh, wait. It's not a twist-off."
I kind of resent having to take off my shoes. I never remember to wear something that slips on and off easily. I'm thinking bunny slippers for my next flight.
I understand that, with my swarthy Mediterranean looks, I'm always going to be profiled. I try not to giggle every time they rub that metal detecting wand over my body, but I'm severely ticklish.
I was strip-searched in Greece because I hadn't shaved. I guess they thought I was a native trying to flee to America. To be fair, it was the night after a bombing at an American hotel there. I had to stand in my underwear in a room while security guards went through my stuff. I could see them judging my souvenirs. It was the kind of situation you see only in porn movies, except it never got naughty, just humiliating.
Here's the thing: Not long ago, I watched an 80-year-old woman get the terrorist treatment near the United gate. The only bomb she is going to drop is going to be in her Depends.
I guess they can't discriminate. Instead, they treat everyone like terrorists.
We're in an "assumed guilty until proven innocent" world now, instead of the other way around.
I just wish I could remember that before I go to the airport.

Read more by Mike Buzzelli at

Mike Buzzelli has performed his standup routine at places on the Left Coast like The Comedy Store and The Ice House, before relocating to Western Pennsylvania. And he has plenty of writing experience, to boot.

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