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The Wasatch Behind: Fly the friendly skies

Uncle Spud came through the door with his duffel bag over his shoulder and his coat pockets full of tickets, papers and trash.

"Where have you been?" I asked.

"I flew to Moosenose, Alaska to visit the Bristol Palin dancing with the stars museum and tea shop," he said.

"I thought you were afraid of airplanes," I said with some surprise. "You told me that ever since you and Wilbur Wright hit that cow on the Kittyhawk runway back in nineteen-ought six, you had sworn off those doggone flying machines."

"I changed my mind," he said. "Flying is a lot of fun nowadays for a lonesome old geezer like me. Have you been on a commercial airliner lately?"

"Not for a couple of years," I had to admit.

"Well, things are a lot different now," he said. "They have all of these people in blue shirts at the airports who check you through security. They are called TSA workers."

"What does TSA mean?"

"I think it means Titillated Security Agents," Spud smiled. "Those TSA people do a good job and they really know their stuff. I understand they go through six weeks of hands-on training before they get hired."

"What do they do?"

"Well, first they give you a chance to be electronically strip searched. You can opt to go into this little booth where they bombard you with x-rays that erase all of your clothes. Maybe it's kryptonite instead of x-rays, I don't remember. Anyway, the machine is like Superman eyes. They can see through your clothes. One of those titillated security agents is sitting in another room watching a TV monitor while the machine reveals all of your secrets. The government says it's okay because you never get to see who is checking out your vital statistics. It's kinda impersonal, like a peephole in the girl's locker room."

"But, the electronic strip search is only an option," he continued. "If you don't want some nameless, faceless voyeur in another room ogling over your nude pictures, you can choose to have a pat down."

"What's a pat down?"

"A pat down is like being strip searched by a blind guy," Spud chuckled. "It's how the TSA workers get in touch with the flying public."

"You mean they grope you?" I asked with some alarm.

"They don't call it groping," Spud said. "They call it sliding hand motions. Think of it as a friendly back rub that extends all over your body."

"That's sickening," I growled.

"Big brother government taking care of business," Spud smiled. "What's the big deal? Uncle Sam has been in our pockets for years. Your underwear is on the other side of your pockets. It's a normal progression."

"Who do they hire who would want to spend all day touching other people's private parts?" I asked.

"I don't know. I didn't ask and they didn't tell."

"Do they get a lot of complaints?"

"No, the TSA workers don't often complain."

"I mean, do the people trying to get on the airplanes complain?"

"Sure they do," Spud said. "But Homeland Security babe Janet Napolitano says we are all a lot safer when the feds check our underwear. She claims it has something to do with stopping Al-Qaeda. I don't know what Al-Qaeda is, but it must be something like herpes or genital warts."

"Does this intrusion into our privacy really do anything positive?" I asked.

"Sure, that's why I decided to try flying again," Spud grinned. "Can you imagine how exciting it is to get on an airplane with 200 recently aroused passengers and a crew of seven?"

"The whole thing puts a new twist on the meaning of government stimulus," the Spudster smiled. "Schools can now list airport security as part of their sex education curriculum and the next generation of little kids will be playing airport instead of doctor. Is this a great country, or what?"

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