Tim Foolery

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Opt Out – Full Body Scanners

I’ve traveled between 50K-60K miles each year for at least 5 years now.  Since the TSA rolled out the full body scanners a couple years ago I managed to pick the right line at the airport and not have to deal with them…until recently.  It seems like every flight I’ve taken in the past 3 months I’ve had to get scanned.  Seriously, before 3 months ago, it was never even an option when I went through security.

To this day, I still haven’t been scanned.  I am one of those.  I opt out.  I don’t want to stand in a Transporter from the original Star Trek (unless I’m getting transported). I don’t want to hang out in the nude-o-scope.  Why? I don’t know.  I’m pretty sure it will cause cancer, but so will using a cell phone, being surrounded by electrical lines and living in a City.  My family has a bad history of cancer (and early death), so I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that within 25 years I’ll be fighting that battle.

I don’t opt out because I’m modest.  If someone wants to see my junk, just ask.  Nothing to be ashamed of here.

I do opt out each time I’m requested to go through the machine.  I stand there, while the cattle stare at me and the TSA person screams “MALE ASSIST.  OPT OUT!”  Then I am escorted around the metal detectors to the end of the security belt — keeping an eye on my belongings.  The extremely hot TSA boys walk away and leave me to be groped by either Fat Albert or a slightly more functional Corky Thatcher (d’oh!).  They recite their required speech — explaining how they will use the back of their hands when they reach my “sensitive areas.”  They also explain how they will run their hands up my thigh until they reach resistance — does that mean if I stand with my legs tight together they won’t feel my balls?

They then ask if I want a private screening area.  Good god now. I would rather be felt up in public than go off into a private molester room (a/k/a a confessional if you are Catholic).  Then Mr. TSA asks again — Are you sure you don’t want a private screening.  No, Creepy Pete, I do not.

In 90 seconds they are done copping a feel and I’m left feeling remarkably unsafe in the terminal (they seem to consistently miss places that I would consider a “good hiding place”).  I put my belt and shoes back on, collect my bags and move on to the lounge.

The past 2 flights I’ve been to efficient for my own good.  I am waiting to be directed to the scanner, after I’ve pushed my bags through the x-ray machine and right when the scanner line starts to move I tell the TSA I want to opt out — and before I get the words out of my mouth they change their direction to me and instead of pointing me to the scanner they want to send me just to the metal detector (Double D’OH!).  Once I opt out, I’ve got to get molested — no going back now.

Moral of the story — wait until the last minute to Opt Out — you might get a last minute dispensation from the Pope or a stay of scanning from the Governor.  If you open your big yap too early you are immediately sent to Molesttown.

When traveling do you take a ride in the nude-o-scope or do you opt out?  Are you surprised at how easy it was up until recently to find a security line where they weren’t actually scanning people?  Do you fly out of a small airport where they don’t have the scanners at all?

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