Maxed Out 

Dogged by TSA rules

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Tomorrow — today I guess by the time this comes out — I will be fully engaged in one of the most unpleasant tasks of modern life. And it’s all Zippy the Dog’s fault.

I don’t usually like to blame Zippy for things. After all, he’s just a dog. I know saying something like, “He’s just a dog,” might not sit well in a day and age when dogs seem to have been exalted to a socio-family niche just below — and in many cases well above — children. I know there are those who bridle and get all haughty when I refer to him as a pet instead of a companion animal. I am painfully aware of my lack of commitment and slipshod dog parenting whenever I scoop out two cups of kibble instead of painstakingly cooking him fresh food. And I’m ashamed to admit I’ve been cutting leftover raw wieners into his breakfast and dinner for a week now since the World Series ended abruptly in five games instead of seven and brought an end to my once-a-year hot dog binge. So sue me.

He’s a dog. A not particularly well-trained dog. A willful dog. A well-loved and even occasionally doted-over dog.

And it’s his fault I’m sinking into the depths of degradation tomorrow and flying to see my folks in Arizona.

The flight thing has me, once again, contemplating theatrical civil disobedience. I have this recurring fantasy of arriving at Ultimate Security — not the first three or four levels of Security but the big line where the x-ray machines and humour-challenged keepers of the gate mass — with nothing but my ticket, passport, painted feet and a fresh pair of boxers under my trenchcoat.

“Remove your shoes.”

“Ain’t wearing any, thanks.”

“Remove your coat.”

“I’ve got nothing to hide.”

“For godsakes, man, put some clothes on!”

But then there’s that all-pervasive lack of humour with which airport security people warmly greet each potential terrorist. While I’m certain my fellow travelers might wet themselves at the sight, I’m also certain such theatrics would be a one-way ticket to body cavity search central.

But this time around, I’m in more of a quandary than usual about flying. On previous flights, my modus operandi was to smile, be friendly, yes-sir, no-ma’am everybody I came into contact with, slide past security like water in a trickling stream, find a comfy seat for the hour-and-a-half wait and break open my Nalgene bottle of scotch. Which is now illegal and impossible to get past security because some asshole terrorist threatened to slip liquid explosives onto a plane.

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