Explosive Residue

I figure it’s time for another Las Vegas story from this summer…
 
You’ve got to understand that our nearest airport The Boss and I fly out of is small.  It barely can attain and keep the status of being an international airport.  Except for Southwest Airlines, the only planes that fly out of this airport are little regional jets and the occassional prop job.
 
Well, when we left for Vegas, I experienced something in this airport.  It was something that I’ve only had happen one other time.  The proverbial lightning struck twice.
 
The Boss and I get in the airport, we get checked in, and we start to walk towards the security line.  I dread this particular outfit of the TSA.  They protect this airport like it were JFK in New York City.
 
A screener was standing before the metal protector.  There was a married couple ahead of us in line.  Both tried to pass this screener.  The screener had to stop the man.  He took a wand with a pad on the end and rubbed it all over the guy’s hands.  Then he stuck it in his machine.  Everything came up ok and the man was waived through.
 
Now it’s our turn.  The screener looked at The Boss and waived her through no problem.  It was as if this guy didn’t think my wife was capable of leading an attack to hijack an airplane.  But he stopped me.  He did the same test to me as the previous man.  The machine beeped.  AHHHHHHHH!!!!  The machine freakin’ beeped.  Wait a minute!  What the hell does it mean when the machine beeps?
 
I was escorted through the metal detector and directed off to a patdown area.  The older more kindly gentleman finally explained…
 
“Traces of explosive residue have been detected on your hands.”
 
What?  Me?  I’ve never touched a bomb or anything that could make a bomb.  Last time I touched a gun was when I fired my dad’s air-propelled BB gun at the fence in our backyard at the age of 9.  How did I have traces of explosive residue on my hands?
 
The kindly gentleman patted me down to the waist.  He then showed he has EXCELLENT bed-side manner by explaining to me that he would turn his hand outward to complete the pat-down below my waist.  Good thing, I guess.  Maybe he didn’t want me to aliken him in the same thought as perverted Catholic priests?
 
He got down to my feet and asked me to sit down.  He then proceeded to pat down the bottom of my feet.
 
“Think of it as a free foot massage,” he exclaimed.
 
Ugh.
 
So, after the kindly gentleman got done with me, they took his gloves and rubbed the wand with the pad on the end all over them, then put them in the testing machine.
 
Negative.
 
So, I move on to where they’ve already sent my luggage through scanning, and someone has the dreaded PAD WAND and is rubbing all over my stuff and in the luggage.  Mind you, this is after they unpack half of everything I have.
 
I’m standing there trying to think of the last time it happened to me.  It was at the airport in Savannah (which is another story for another post).  But they rubbed the same dreaded PAD WAND all through my luggage, and it came out as positive for explosive residue.  After checking my luggage, the TSA agent in Savannah saw some of my shower gel had leaked in to the bag.  He checked the ingredients.  I forget the names of the ingredients that he pointed out to me, but he said they could create a false positive for explosive residue.
 
After recalling this in my head, I proceeded to try and ask the agent at this airport about it.
 
“Well, I’ve had this agent at another airport tell me…”
 
“Sir, I can’t tell you anything.”
 
“But, he said some soaps have certain…”
 
“Sir, I can’t tell you anything.”
 
If these guys were the secret service, they’d be the president’s men.  Why are they protecting such an out of the way airport in this manner?  Has Osama bin Laden released a tape threatening this specific airport and it was kept from the press?
 
Needless to say, we finally got on the way to Vegas, albeit with incident.

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