Last month, my wife and I flew to Montana to do a presentation for Music Ranch Montana.
No, I didn’t sing.
I gave the first nonmusical presentation at the venue… and I was honored to perform with my own version of dramatic infotainment.
But that’s not what I’m writing about today.
I decided to have a little fun with COVID-19 rules and play some games with our bureaucrats.
I have one of those little blue cotton hospital masks they give you as freebies whenever you go somewhere these days. I’ve used it now on a dozen flights. I keep it in my computer bag when I get home so it’s there when I go out again.
It’s actually getting fairly dingy, and it sure is wrinkled. But as long as it doesn’t break, I’ll keep reusing it. Why fill up trash cans with contaminated material?
Anyway, I walked up to the TSA podium and handed my boarding pass and plastic driver’s license to the uniformed official. Of course she had on a mask and gloves – and of course those gloves had handled 50 plastic driver’s licenses prior to mine.
Like all of these officials, she instinctively grabbed her face mask to pull it down to talk with me. They muffle voices terribly, as you know. She asked me to pull down my mask so she could identify me with my ID.
I offered the best panicked expression I could (from nose up only) and replied, “I can’t touch my mask – that will contaminate it.”
She was taken aback and paused, holding my driver’s license and clearly searching for her next move. Obviously nobody had ever actually thought through the sanitation science per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). After a bit, she reached down and offered me a box containing gloves.
“I can’t put those on – I’ll contaminate them while pulling them on.”
Now she was a bit more flustered. Meanwhile, I’m standing there with my wrinkled, 2-month-old multiple-use mask trying my best to dramatize sheer panic and fear. Then she reached down into her podium and pulled out a bottle of sanitizer and offered it to me.
Withdrawing in horror, as if from a pariah, I remonstrated, “Chemicals! I don’t want chemicals!”
I pulled away as though being slapped. By this time, she was clearly flustered.
I said, “You must be sanitary. You have to pull down my mask.”
By that time, the rest of the TSA agents had taken notice. I was attracting attention. My lovely bride, Teresa, waiting impatiently behind me, went to a second podium they suddenly opened up (a line was backing up on my podium).
Of course, she would not touch my mask – can you imagine if we’d had that on tape? Sexual abuse, assault and battery, etc. She just said firmly, “I can’t let you pass until I confirm your identify.”
By this time, I’d made my point and had enough fun, so I pulled it down, smiling. She glanced at me, then at my driver’s license and scribbled her “Okay” on the boarding pass. I was off to the radiation machine.
When Teresa went through, she had to remove her flip-flops. Emboldened by what I’d just done, she queried the TSA folks, incredulously, “You mean you’re going to make me walk on this filthy floor barefoot?”
By this time, all the TSA agents had lined up, crossed their arms and stood in solidarity as we went through security. Whatever went down, they wanted us to know they were one for all and all for one.
And they had these troublemakers pegged.
Symbolism Over Substance
We kept our masks under our noses the entire time. Nobody said anything to us.
It’s all about symbolism over substance.
The pilots, of course, did not wear masks. They would be uncomfortable… and we can’t have uncomfortable pilots. I don’t think they had a separate oxygen supply from the passengers. If I’m not mistaken, their breathing went into the same ventilation system.
When we got off the plane in Bozeman, the National Guard met us to take our temperature. I wish I had asked them what they planned to do with me if I had a temperature they didn’t like. How much is too much? Would they really quarantine me away from my wife (assuming she were normal) on our 40th wedding anniversary trip celebration? Is this what the U.S. military has come to?
I feel such safety with them taking my temperature.
On the return trip, I did the same thing with the TSA agent at the first podium.
I’m convinced that if more of us would throw the CDC paranoia back at them, it would completely snarl and strangle the system and they’d have to ease up a bit.
But we bow. We appease. We go along. And then we don’t have freedom or America anymore. We create the gestapo.
So have some fun. Play the game. You don’t need to be mean or vicious. Just act paranoid like the government wants us to.
That’s enough to make a point.
Have some fun out there.
Is Joel playing a dangerous game… or is it more dangerous to silently follow the rules? Let us know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.