Rebel with a cause ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2008
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, rebel, TSA, security, dangerous, Star Spangled Banner, revolution, guard, tea, Boston Tea Party, YourLDS Neighborhood.com)

The Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) guard at airport security looked at us sternly, opened our carry-on suitcase and rummaged around. “You’ve got something in here that could be a problem,” she said.

There we stood in our stocking feet, feeling vulnerable and wondering what we’d done wrong. We were on vacation, and I’d given myself a two-inch streak of gray hair trying to make sure I’d packed correctly. I knew there weren’t any pipe bombs in there, because I’d used my last one the week before. I’d left my dynamite at home, along with our machete. And all my really dangerous chemicals—hair gel, hair spray and toothpaste—were in a Ziploc baggie that had already been cleared by security.

“Ah-ha,” the guard declared. She pulled out two, one ounce, sealed jars of honey—mementos from a restaurant in Hawaii.

What insidious, terrorist plot did she think I’d contrived? Pour the honey on the passengers and stick them together? Throw it in the eyes of the pilot and take over the plane? I’m not admitting I’ve ever done this, but anyone who’s tried to throw honey knows it’s not exactly easy.

I watched as she confiscated the jars, and was certain she was thinking of tomorrow morning’s English muffin—with my honey on it.

The guard groped around in my suitcase again and a grin spread across her face. She pulled out two jars of macadamia nut-caramel popcorn.

Aack! Not my popcorn! I had visions of it growing wings and flying away. I gritted my teeth and gathered courage. History lessons about the Boston Tea Party came to mind—sort of. I couldn’t remember if the rebellion was about confiscation, taxation without representation, or a shortage of Lipton teabags, but I felt a kinship with the early American colonists. No longer would I put up with an infringement on my rights. This popcorn was not being seized without a fight. I could hear the Star-Spangled Banner ringing in my ears and the sound of fife and drums as I prepared my battle plan.

“Russ, you’ve got to save my popcorn,” I whispered.

My husband raised his eyebrows and nodded towards the gun on the guard’s hip. It had a barrel the size of a cannon. Okay, maybe I exaggerate slightly. But she did have a gun. And a deep voice. And a rather flat … um … chest.

Just as I opened my mouth to insist that Russ tell her caramel popcorn was not on the list of items forbidden in carry-on luggage, she smiled at us and said, “I could use these.” She held the two round, 12-ounce jars in front of her chest and said, “If I were to stuff these under my shirt, people would quit thinking I’m a man.”

She didn’t want to eat my popcorn? She wanted to stick the jars in her … ah … underclothing? Visions of a dark-skinned, Hawaiian TSA guard with a chest like Dolly Parton and a voice like Cookie Monster flashed through my head.

The guard said, “Don’t worry, I’m teasing. These can go through just fine,” and put them back into the suitcase.

I laughed. I’m certain it wasn’t hysterically. We picked up our belongings and headed toward the boarding gate. “That was quite the experience,” I said. “But at least all we lost was the honey.”

Then I pulled my ticket out to see when the plane was leaving and the words were blurred. Unreadable. That’s when I realized the honey wasn’t the only thing we’d lost. My glasses were back there, in that tangle of security. Maybe sitting on some guard’s nose.

I could hear the Star-Spangled Banner again, ringing in my ears. I prepared my battle plan.

"Russ, you’ve got to go back and get my glasses.”

He looked at me and said, “You’re crazy. I’m not going through all that again. You can buy another $3 pair from Wal-Mart when we get home.”

Some revolutionary he was.

I’ve got news for the TSA, though. I’m a rebel with a cause. And the next time I go through airport security, I’m not bothering with contraband like honey. I’m bringing along some Lipton tea.

What's playing in my head: Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree written by Georgia Bello

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Kimberly Job said...

Too funny, Cindy! I could hardly read the rest of the article as I pictured you trying to throw honey, but then your description of the guard was even funnier. You have an amazing talent!

Cindy Beck, author said...

Glad you enjoyed it. A truer story was never told ... well, maybe. :)

Thanks for your kind words!