Opting Out

When you opt out of receiving email communiqués you are sending a message of your very own, to wit ‘I am not interested in the thing that you want me to be interested in.’ Maybe it doesn’t apply, maybe you don’t need it, maybe it was for an old job and now you have a new job, whatever the reason you are taking the time to affirmatively say, ‘not for me, thank you.’ When you opt out of screening via the death machine at an airport what you are saying, apparently is, ‘ I am a terrorist and you should now treat me as such.’ Because it makes logical sense that a person with mal-intent would raise their hand and say ‘hey you there, security personnel, I am behaving oddly be forewarned.’ Or maybe if we are really being logical the party of mal-intent would exhibit some other sort of odd behavior and we should watch for that instead of getting our panties all up in a bunch because someone is a little ocd about x-ray machines that the government assures me are totally safe, don’t worry about it at all, just hop right in.

So obviously I am an opt-outer of the death machine, which I am not sure is totally safe despite the comforting signs on the outside. I am also not convinced that the large metal boxes I have to stand next to when I get to do TSA yoga are safe either and I think about what rays they are emitting as I stand in a tall confident goddess pose, arms outstretched, palms up, feet shoulder width apart. I really should go ahead and apply for pre-check but one of the nice TSA yogis in Raleigh told me that about half the time it doesn’t help anyway so I should just save my money as long as I don’t care about them touching me. Well I don’t really care about them touching me, it’s not like it’s a thrill and I have to control myself, plus the gloves so as a mild germaphobe I feel pretty okay about the situation. Sometime I do like to say the instruction thing along with them because I know it by heart but they don’t like that, so now I just do that in my head.

But today something was different and a new thing happened that I have not ever experienced before intentionally. I set off the paper tabby thing alarm and required additional screening with poking through my things and also more touching. It was about at this point that I was prepared to say, ‘okay, forget it, I’m opting back in.’ But you aren’t allowed to do that. Once you take yourself out of the game you become a likely terrorist, even if you were the one who said to them, ‘hey take a look at me.’ So I had to both impotently stand there as they rifled through my undergarments and explain where to find more things for them to rifle through since they couldn’t seem to figure it out on their own. Logically, if I may suggest, a terrorist would not help you find the hidden compartments and the bags within bags of which I have many.

After much poking and prodding of my belongings I was taken to the special private screening room where I was to be more thoroughly poked and prodded myself. This special room looked an awful lot like a storage closet so the whole thing had a bizarre quality of unofficial official harassment that I had somehow self-selected into because I just did not want to be radiated. This portion of the screening involved examining the bottom of my feet, my bare feet because I guess this is where I would secretly tape the tiny bomb? Or maybe I am so dedicated to my cause that I am willing to insert explosive devices under the skin and they were looking for incisions. And at the same time that I am this dedicated to the cause I am so stupid that I raise my hand and ask them to look at me. Anyway and obviously I was released. The nice lady who had been my guide on this journey asked if I had any spray on, I said I had used hairspray that day, she said ‘yep, that will set the alert off every time.’

So here is the lesson that we can learn from this, and maybe this is the point: if you question the government you will be subjected to unpleasant procedures of which you have no control over. Also don’t use hairspray. And in this way we keep America safe from the terrorists, or at any rate we train people up on how to just do as we say.

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