A Message From a TSA Full-Body Scanner.
[Originally published November 18, 2010.]
There’s been quite a bit of scuttlebutt in the press and amongst the civil liberties crowd about what we—myself and my fellow full-body scanners—are coming to your airports to do. What is our real purpose? How invasive, truly, are these full-body scans? Will air travel, over time, become somehow less dignified, less “private”?
I’d like to take the opportunity of this writing to allay these and other misgivings. Please know: I’m just here to measure your penises. And I’m very, very good at it.
Can I see electronic components or liquid metals? Exotic bomb-making compounds? Timers or wires poking out of foreign orifices that mean us harm? No, no, and no, I cannot. And ladies, I have no interest in whatever arrangements you might have going on down there—no thanks! Fundamentally, I’m a specialist. I was built to measure penises for national security.
Many folks seem to have the impression that their penis scans will simply be appraised by a crew of chuckling, fantastically overweight elementary school dropouts in some musty back room near the baggage drop. While that may well be the case, you can rest assured that your penis will be regarded with the utmost professional care and clinical detachment until the very moment that a fine-grained digital image of your business leaves my fiber-optic cable en route to our vast federal crotch database.
I’m not just some dumb consumer SKU from Epson, re-purposed and jammed inside a futuristic beige plastic enclosure and stamped with a TSA logo. I’ve scanned the novels of Proust, Flaubert, and Turgenev, in addition to literally hundreds of thousands of pages of pornographic magazines. I can tell the difference between your penis and a breakfast sausage, a sock monkey, and a cat’s bladder stuffed with warm oatmeal. I am an expert. I am ready to serve.
For nearly a decade, lightly-trained TSA employees have been forced to estimate—to guess, really—your penis size, based on such factors as height, weight, walking style, and disposition. Frankly, that’s asking them to do the impossible. It gratifies me to think that millions of travelers will now be able to fly just a little bit easier, secure in the knowledge of their newly complete and accurate TSA profiles—all thanks to my precise genital scans. Length, girth, heft, and any major identifying characteristics. Everything but the color; this is America, and we don’t do that here.
In some quarters, folks have been asking: “Why?” As in, “Why must the Department of Homeland Security build and maintain a vast database comprising digital images and noteworthy attributes of the penises of domestic and international travelers?” Questions like these are not for me to answer; I’m just a full-body scanner, not a political appointee. And if this issue is above my pay-grade, surely it’s above yours—after all, you don’t even work for the Transportation Safety Administration.
The salient point is this: Uncle Sam needs to know exactly what you’re packing for the War on Terror. As long as you’ve got something halfway reasonable down the front of those sweatpants, what do any of us really have to worry about?
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