Green Plaid Boxers and Airport Security

Jo and I in Washington D.C.

“Put your arms up.” I smiled, did as I was told. And my jeans, which are about three sizes too big, started to slide. I grabbed my jeans so that the folks behind me wouldn’t see my green plaid boxers that Jo had bought me.

“I said, put your hands up”. Again, I smiled and did as I was told. Again, the jeans started to slide. I got to thinking to myself that this was a classic “Catch 22”. If I did what I was told, then everyone in the airport was going to get a cheap thrill. If I didn’t do what I was told, then I’d be sat down in solitary for a little talking to.

Let me explain.

Jo takes me to the Dayton International Airport so I can catch the flight to The Outer Banks to get shots of the Elizabeth II underway. I’m going ride it for three days along with the crew and the shots I get will be sold in the museum gift store as well as used by PBS, Discovery Channel and a few other outlets that are doing stories about this 16th century sailing replica.

She and I got to the airport early enough so that I could get a bite to eat and we could chat some before the plane took off. I really didn’t want her to leave me at the curb with a quick kiss and a fast “See you Tuesday”. I wanted to spend some time with this lady.

So we chatted until it was about time for me to go through security and for her to head home. I’ve been to this rodeo before, so I kinda knew what to expect when I went past the line that was the demarcation of sanity and entered “the zone”.

Now I know they’re just doing their jobs, but someone somewhere in D.C. has gone overboard with this security non-sense. Empty all your pockets, take your shoes off, remove all metal – take your belt off. I was ok, but this last one tripped me up.

Since I fit the profile of a terrorist – single male, traveling alone, no luggage, lots of camera gear – I was pulled from the line of people and given the chance to go through the body scan machine thingy. I think I ticked the security people off when I told the lady behind the computer screen which showed my semi-naked body, “No peeking now”. Bureaucrats can’t take a joke.

The payback was the gorilla of a security guard in a vest three sizes too small telling me to raise my arms.

Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist. His work has appeared in many national, regional and local publications including CNN, USAToday, Upsurge, Earthwalkers and Associated Content. Nelson travels the country seeking out the people, places and things that make America unique and great. When not traveling, Nelson volunteers his time and donates his services to area non-profit agencies and is available for portraits, promotional shoots, events and more. Nelson lives in Asheville, North Carolina when not chasing down stories and photo opportunities.

Click Here to see some of his work.

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