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That's not my GOOD side, I tell you!

The Nazi Horrors of the TSA!

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 01, 2010.

I have friends. Really, I still do, and this despite my usually highly effective methods of alienating people by direct comment or public behavior. Some of these friends are actually women, and adult, and range in age between 18 and my own Pleistocene carbon dated actuarial descent, and I'll pause here for the shocked intake of breath, raised brow of disbelief, and snort of derision. Well, bite me, it's true.

Some of these women are built like the Lady's rooms at brick factories, as we almost said in my teen years, and/or are lovely beyond reason. In the summer, even the eldest wear bathing suits and do not force eyes to be shielded, or their image to be solely visible in a polished shield. They do not shy away from allowing their clothing or lack thereof from revealing the hillocks and troughs of their body. Why should they? It's comfortable and family time television and toddler level magazine racks at the 7-eleven have full color photos of Hollywood's hottest, clothed and not. And that before the WEB. It's not as generically arousing as before.

Yet several of these same friends are absolutely indignant that they might - possibly - have to walk, someday, through a device that shows their body's triumphs and defeats along with any bomb, box cutter, or pistol taped to their inner thigh, beneath gigantic breast, or uncomfortably stashed in a baggy up the rectum. Or worse, have a uniformed Large Marge pat them down. The reason? Sweaty, fat, harassed, and unknown men and women of the TSA will see it, save it, and either post it with name on the Internet or try to extort money. Something. That these same people, or those just like them, can take cell phone images of the same women in decidedly more attractive and revealing circumstance at the public park and do the same is ignored. That's different, somehow.

Well, in what way is it different?

True, airline travel does not comport with comfort or the relaxed time that show us at our best, but that isn't the reason, or entirely the reason, or even most of it. Women don't want anyone to see the saline bags, the girdle restraints, the jewelry in the vaginal area, or certain birth control devices. In short, their secrets. Maybe someone is transporting drugs? Who'd have thought.

Men, always more vain, don't want the world to know their penis disallows them admission into the life of a porn star, except for comedy relief. And perhaps girdle hoops as well, who knows?

We live in a world of oversharing. I remain shocked that people on message boards and Facebook reveal things, because they're exchanging posts with a friend, that they wouldn't share with the planet if they thought they were live on camera, but they do when they think they're just passing notes back and forth in class, which they aren't. Sometimes, and increasingly, it comes back to bite them.

I'm the fourth son of a third son, spent life in private schools which had locker rooms, and realized early on that while I could pose for sculpture as Lacoon, I could not pose as Priapus, and that any success with women would rely upon my extensive trove of knock-knock jokes, my expertise producing blackened anything at the kitchen stove, and my devotion to booze, under which everyone for some reason thinks I'm terrific, or so I recall. Even so, I'd consider it a bummer if this vanity, felt by enough people, led to one fireball in the sky or on tarmac.

More than most, I understand that this is an invasion of privacy and really, I don't like anyone except Cameron Diaz running their hand around my groin. At least in public. I also, though, remember the videos of the guys with the wands waving them around the bodies of the 9-11 terrorists at Logan airport. It was half-hearted, it was insufficient, and they did not do their jobs, although even if they had it would only have been intuition to prevent the thugs from boarding.

But I've traveled enough and seen enough self-important people, not un-often those famous who bring us the news, throwing temper tantrums because people they consider beneath them publicly are allowed to feel them up. We've all endured the loudmouths screaming about the Nazi repression that disallows them to bring steamer trunks and growling Rottweilers aboard the plane with them, and we've all see airline personnel, knowing their managers will weigh situational popularity and won't support the rules being followed, caving.

Now, the rules are law. It's the world we live in. Move on. You can sit next to me, Beautiful. Like burned toast?