The B-Word and Airport Security


No matter how sarcastic you are, there are just certain words and phrases that you shouldn’t use at airport security checkpoints. At the top of the list is the b-word. And by the b-word, I don’t mean the word for a female dog or for a snarky woman that you just don’t like. I mean bomb.

Case and point is an incident that I witnessed at Lambert International Airport yesterday. As this man — we’ll just call him idiot boy — was passing through the metal detector, the TSA agent looked down at his feet, and asked him to remove his socks. Apparently idiot boy was not happy at even having to remove his shoes, and being in a sassy mood he replied, “Why? Do you think I have a bomb in there?”

That’s all it took.

Once the b-word was uttered, the security line was shut down, the waiting passengers were shifted to another line, several TSA agents gave idiot boy’s effects a thorough inspection, idiot boy was pulled aside and questioned, and the local police were on the scene. All within a matter of seconds.

I’d be amazed if idiot boy actually made his flight. I expect he was escorted to the naked room for more questioning. Suffice it to say, I don’t think he had a pleasant travel experience that day.

All because of a flip comment. So watch your tongue at security checkpoints. I know, we all want to mouth off, but the less said the better. Stick with yes, no and thank-you. And it doesn’t hurt to throw in a sir or mam along the way.

And although I freely admit to being the queen of sarcasm, even I’m very tight lipped at security checkpoints. But sometimes it’s really hard.

For example, there was one time in Sacramento when a wet-behind-the-ears TSA agent confiscated my dangerous corkscrew. Never mind that it was allowed and that it had been through that same airport some 50 times. Junior was making his big bust. I was pretty much silent through the whole event. Even when he held up my corkscrew and asked me “Well, what do want me to do with it?”

An opening like that was hard to pass up for someone like me. Tears were literally coming to my eyes. But I took a deep breath, held my tongue and calmly replied, “You can dispose of it sir.”

And I lived to travel another day.

If I can do it, so can you. Watch your p’s and q’s and save your smart-aleck comments for your loved ones. And most important, never ever use the B-word at airport security checkpoints.