Everybody is a little absent minded upon occasion. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned traveler, worked for a corporate travel management company for years, security clearance… anyone can make the honest mistake of going through security screening with a gun in one’s backpack. Honestly, anyone. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I have a nice front porch that I built from scratch. It gives me much pleasure and satisfaction. I like to sit and read with a beverage at the end of a long day. You know, kick my feet up and relax. Upon occasion that pleasure is disturbed by the neighborhood Crows cawing in nearby trees. A quick B.B or two from my little air pistol is sufficient to send them to a tree farther away and less offensive to my tranquility (I never hit the birds, just the branches near them).
So as not to inflame the neighbors, I stow the little pistol (which is a replica of a 9mm Glock) in my day pack. FYI – apparently this last bit, the looking like a Glock, is not OK with the TSA folk. Off to visit the relatives in Denver we arrive at the airport, pay our $500 to check one bag at United, and proceed to security. The wife makes it through fine, but when I get to the end and start pulling up my pants and putting my belt on, the ashen faced security agent says “please have a seat here and do not make any attempt to retrieve your bag.” I’m thinking that I left a water bottle in the thing, happens all the time – the memory goes with age you know. “Roger, come here, you gotta see this.” O.K. I think to myself, was it one of those little tequila bottles from the Mexico trip? His friend looks in the pack and starts to back up.
Then I am informed of the discovery and immediately start laughing hysterically. This causes hands to approach the heretofore un-drawn firearms that are beginning to congregate in my general vicinity. My wife, behind me, utters a “What the fork?!?” half in disbelief and the other half in abject disgust. Around that time I feel that an explanation to all is in order. Relating the saga of the porch readings, the intrusion of the Black Crows, and the senility with which I packed for the trip, the tension at the gate 94 security booth is gradually assuaged.
The SF police are called in to review the situation and do so with amazing dispatch. The Kevlar Klad Kombatants are relatively amused by the situation, ask me a few questions related to national security and go on their merry way. They are obviously thinking of ways to have more than one good laugh at my expense.
Next up is a Federal Marshall. She is far more serious until I relate the aforementioned Crow saga then says something like “Are you out of your freeking mind? For someone who had the security clearance to escort (then Governor) President Bush through City Team in 1999 you sure are dumb.” I am asked far more pressing questions regarding my political affiliations, sports favorites, former residences, etc. She has obviously pulled up a rather large file on me, and wants to make damn sure that I am the genuine article before releasing me to the unshaven masses.
Upon verification of my DNA, blood type, rectal scan, finger prints, and first girlfriend’s dog’s middle name, we are released. My wife and I are again on speaking terms and the crowd is dispersing.
We board our plane with only a cursory visual pat-down by the flight staff, and have a wonderful trip. Other than that, it is a pretty uneventful flight.