Department of Bad Trips

“Airport Security Memories”

by Alex Bernstein


One cold Sunday afternoon in 1980, we took my Dad to the airport for a business trip.  Greater Cincinnati Airport (which is in Harrison, Kentucky, by the way) was quiet that day with only a handful of travelers roaming around.  Dad was late and trying to hurry through security.  And I was restless, and bored, and wanted to say goodbye to him in a clever 17-year-old kind of way.  So, just as he went through the X-ray machine, I yelled out:

Hope they don’t find your gun!

From out of nowhere, dozens of security officers appeared, grabbed my father — as well as the businessmen in front of and behind him — threw them all up against the wall, and frisked them, and tore through their luggage.  Dad and the men were incredibly pissed but hurried to get on the plane.  Mom was just wall-eyed.  And a snarling, burly attendant came right up to me.

“Kidding!  Kidding!”  I said. “It was a joke!”

She pointed to a large gray sign, not two feet away from me:

Making jokes is grounds for criminal prosecution.  NO JOKING!

And I thought, wow, they knew I was coming.



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