Today I flew on an airplane. Here is everything I like about flying: Spoiler Getting somewhere faster than driving Here is everything I hate about flying: Spoiler Going to the airport Parking at the airport Getting my boarding pass Waiting in the security line Going through security Getting all my shit recombobulated after going through security Constantly worrying that I have dropped something important getting through security Hauling my shit to the gate Waiting at the gate Walking halfway across the airport when they change the gate Getting on the plane Waiting to take off The actual process of flying with the dry air and the retarded monkey children that are always seated next to me and everything Turbulence Waiting to get off the plane Getting to my car Getting off airport property But today I had a special experience. The security guy asked me, for the first time, to step into the Irradiating Penisizing Machine to have my penis irradiated. He didn't even give me the option, it was just "Sir, please step over here." I look up, and he's directing me into the Irradiating Penisizing Machine! While I'm usually OK about these things, today I thought "I don't really want my penis irradiated," so I told them I didn't want to do that. The guy looked at me like I just told him that a stray dog was licking his asshole. "Am I to understand, sir, that you do not want to step into the Irradiating Penisizing Machine?" "Yes, that's correct." I thought opting out was something people did sometimes, but I guess not. "Sir, are you saying you would prefer a thorough, full-body pat down procedure?" He's really trying to sell me on penis irradiation by not-so-subtly implying that the alternative is akin to what Robert Stack was trying to do to everyone in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. "Yes, sir, that's right." "Hold on, sir." He then got on the horn and announced that "WE HAVE AN OPT-OUT" like it was a goddamned Code Blue, and two guys had to come over to escort me and my gaggle of luggage off to the side. I am not sure, but I don't believe I was allowed to come into contact with my luggage during the trip. The screeners were much less jumpy. My first screener explained to me in thorough detail what he was going to do, which I am sure is a requirement, and offered me a private pat-down. I declined. I reassured him that I had no intention of getting riled up by the full-body pat-down procedure. Honestly, it is even more thorough than I expected. I have had my inseam measured by the Staff Pro guys at many concerts, which is always exhilarating, but they have nothing on the TSA. Every clothed square inch on my body was tactilely inspected. It was the first time that I had to explain to a man that the area right above my penis is ticklish when you try to stick your hand down my pants, which I tried to do as tactfully as one can explain such a thing in a public place. He then took his nitrile glove, soiled now by my entire personage, and swabbed it to put in one of those chemical detector machines. I rather like those machines, as they look for actual evidence. It went off. Seriously? Seriously? "Sometimes the chemicals they put on the road to melt the snow do that." Seriously? I knew I was taking a small risk by opting out of the Irradiating Penisizer Machine, but now I had episodes of Banged Up Abroad running through my head (even though I was not abroad). I briefly considered volunteering to have my penis irradiated just to clear my name, but I thought "no, I have to go through with this." His supervisor brought me into the private area for another, double-enhanced pat-down, which was indistinguishable to me from the first one, but apparently in the double-enhanced pat down he is allowed to grope the ticklish area above my penis with the front of his hand. He scanned HIS now-soiled nitrile glove and I came up clean and was let go. They gave me a moment to recollect myself in the private room, which mostly meant reassembling my luggage and putting my belt and shoes back on. It's not quite the Red Carpet Club, but it's nicer than waiting at the terminal. Everyone was professional, which is the best I can say about any complete stranger who tickled the area above my penis. The whole experience was kind of surreal. For everyone saying that this presages some terrible American dystopia, I can't quite see it. It was a lot less like 1984 and a lot more like the bureaucracy of Brazil combined with the impotence of Idiocracy. I am, however, a little suspicious of people who do "security" as their full-time job. I think they run a high risk of losing perspective on the rest of the world. FOCUS: Discuss your run-ins with "security people," airport or otherwise. ALT FOCUS: Have you ever been wrongfully accused of something? How? How did it turn out?