Thank You, TSA


Who do you complain to if the good guys are also the bad guys?

If you’ve ever survived a nine hour flight to a foreign speaking country and needed your socks surgically removed upon landing, you’ve probably found a note slipped into your underwear pouch from the TSA.

The thought of someone snooping through your stuff is almost as disturbing as the kid kicking your seat for the nine hours during the flight.

Do they wear rubber gloves? Do they change the rubber gloves between searching your suitcase and the sweaty man sawing logs in seat 34D?

Not that I suspect the TSA to recruit their employees from Brigham Young or Harvard, but I expect honesty and/or brains.

But for some reason, the TSA workers at Chicago’s O’Hare thought my luggage was Costco and helped themselves to a few free samples.

They didn’t take the socks I stole from my sister, but a large spoon, butter knife and fork that had both sentimental and pawn shop value.

This is what I wrote the TSA on their “Oh, they stole something from you, too,” form at their website:

While I routinely dine with chopsticks or my finger lickin’ fingers in China, there are still a few meals where I still prefer to use a spoon, knife and fork. I decided to bring some of my grandma’s cutlery with me. The tarnished tines are a ticket to my past, bringing back memories of Sunday’s pot roast and puddles of gravy in a mounds of mashed potatoes, my reward for surviving Pastor Longwind’s sermon.

The silverware could not be shoved in my carry-on since butter knives and sharp forks are considered possible weapons along with my four ounce tube of toothpaste. I had not other option but to place the silverware in my checked baggage.  

When I arrived in China, I discovered the silverware was missing, including the large spoon.

How can I possibly eat the Costco sized box of Raisin Bran the agents did not take without my spoon?

Another disgruntled and constipated flyer,

Ginger S. MacDonald

It pisses me off that every time I fly, I have to cross my fingers that airline or government employees don’t loot my stuff.

But it pisses me off even more that I’m not like Bishop Monseigneur in Victor Hugo’s Le Miserable, who upon catching a thief stealing his silverware, retorted by shoving his candlesticks in his sack as well,  saying, “You no longer belong to evil, but to good”.

So I’m shallow. I just want my large size spoon back.

The funny thing is, the things I miss the most about the USA aren’t eating utensils or the fiber, but things that can’t be packed. Things like an encouraging hug from a sister, the softness of a friend’s couch and most of all, smells. The Mark Zuckerbergs of the world haven’t figured out a way to upload aromas on a cloud. There is no Tinderbox for the nostrils, no “unfriend this scent” button on Facebook, no android app for a mouthwatering blast of Lou Malnati’s pizza.

Other than having someone snoop through my dirty socks to steal my silverware, the flight was OK, even the vegetarian Hindu meal.

There is a silver lining to my lost silverware story. When I landed in Beijing, my connecting flight to Kunming was cancelled, causing the airline to put me up in a hotel for two days on their dime mao. Along with two nights in a hotel with heat and meals, I was surprised with blue skies and breathable air. It was as if the gods were saying, “Sorry that your silverware got swiped. Go eat some Peking duck on the airline’s dime. And go ahead. Use your fingers.”

And of course, after I write this, post it, and bitch to the TSA, I open a tin box of Sharpies that was duct-taped shut and in my other checked piece of luggage. Well, not luggage, but a huge packing box.

And low and behold, what did I find?

I guess I’ll be eating crow with my grandma’s butter knife.





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