Go %$#@ Yourself, San Diego

With apologies to a good friend of mine* who works (and does great work!) at the TSA, I'd say that TSA agents seem to do a pretty good job earning their atrocious reputation.  I realize that it only takes a few horror stories to cement this perception that the whole organization is rotten, but nevertheless - the reputation is pretty well-established now.

Amy Sullivan blogs her recent experience, at Time:

When it was my turn, I politely said that I would like to opt out. "Seriously?" the first TSA worker asked me with a raised eyebrow. Yes, seriously. 
He directed me through the nearby metal detector (the one that would have been good enough if I'd just chosen another line) and motioned for me to wait for a pat-down agent: "Female opt-out!" A female agent led me to a table where she set my bags and then skeptically asked if I knew what the pat down involved. Yes, indeedy (thanks, Jeff Goldberg!) "Do you want to do this somewhere private?" No, thank you. The agent calmly explained what she was going to do before she performed each part of the procedure, and very briskly but thoroughly went through the pat-down. The whole thing was over in a matter of minutes and was a completely professional experience. 
Or it was, until a male TSA agent walked behind us and hollered: "Hey, I thought she was mine! I was gonna do her!" 
And that, buddy, is exactly why I'm opting out instead of standing in the see-through picture machine. Thanks for validating my choice.
Air travelers have known since the dawn of airport security checkpoints that it is unacceptable to joke about having a bomb or some other weapon while standing in line to get to their gate.  We have gladly accepted this restriction, because it's good common sense.  Perhaps the TSA could implement a similar policy for their front-line employees:  "Assume that every traveller you serve probably has a bias against you (at best) or hates you (at worst).  Therefore, do not make any jokes, smart-ass remarks, or empty threats in their presence.  Save it for the breakroom"



*Which friend, upon reading this post, replied:
Here’s how I know that Jerry Seinfeld is a hard-working man, if not THE hardest working man in comedy.

When we saw him in Cleveland three weeks ago, he didn’t make a single TSA joke (though he discussed air travel), nor did he make a single joke about Cleveland.  That, my friend, is a work ethic.