A Wilde trip through homeland security | AspenTimes.com

A Wilde trip through homeland security

Barry Smith

Oscar Wilde travels in post-9/11 America:Agent: Boarding pass and photo ID, please.Oscar Wilde: Here you are.Agent: And you’re flying to Los Angeles today, Mr. Wildey?OW: Yes. And it’s “Wilde.”Agent: Excuse me?OW: Wilde.Agent: What’s wild, Mr. Wildey?OW: Los Angeles is, from what I hear. And so, for that matter, am I.Agent: Is that a fact? Well, I’m sure our thorough security screening will be the final determiner of that. Please join the line on your left.Agent (another one): Please remove your red velvet jacket, sir, as well as your hat, belt and shoes, and put them all in this tub. Does this peacock feather come off of this hat?OW: Depends on how the evening is progressing.Agent: Fine. Do you have a laptop?OW: Not when I’m standing up.Agent: I’ll take that as a “no.” Please keep your boarding pass in your hand and show it to the agent as you pass through the metal detector.OW: What are you doing with my clothes? I’ll never get those wrinkles smoothed out. Please, be a bit more careful with that carnation.Agent: That way, sir.[BEEP!]Agent (still another one): Sir, please place your cane through the X-ray machine and walk through to me again.OW: Of course.[BEEP!]Agent: OK, I need you to step over here, sir.OW: Could I have my belt back, perhaps? My jodhpurs are threatening to find their way ankleward, then everyone will be able to admire this laptop thing the gentleman was referring to earlier. Agent: Excuse me?OW: My jodhpurs.Agent: (aside) Male assist!OW: No. Listen to me. My pantaloons!Agent: Great. Now, sir, if you’d please have a seat here and lift your left foot in the air. Thank you. Now the other. Now stand up with your arms outstretched.OW: Are you measuring me? If so, I’d like something in a smoking jacket.Agent: There’s no smoking in the airport, sir, except in designated areas.OW: I was joking.Agent: Do you have anything sharp on your person, sir?OW: Well, there’s my rapier-like wit.Agent (thumbing through the “Prohibited Items” booklet): Well, I don’t see “rapier” anywhere in here. Do you have any metal plates or prosthetic limbs?OW: I find that alcohol, when consumed in mass quantities, can produce an effect similar to having consumed mass quantities of alcohol.Agent: Excuse me?OW: Oh, sorry, I was working out some new quips. What was the question?Agent: Metal plates or prosthetic limbs?OW: Oh, no thank you. I’ve just eaten.Agent: OK, you’re clean.OW: Shows how little you know of my thoughts.Agent: You can collect your belongings over there.OW: Aren’t you going to ask me if I have anything to declare?Agent: Nope. You’re all through, sir. Please step over to the end of the conveyor belt and collect your items.OW: Please. I’ve spent the duration of the previous flight developing a wonderfully witty quip for that question.Agent: Sir, we’re very busy right now.OW: I have something to declare. I swear I do. Just ask me. It’s really good.Agent: OK! Do you have anything to declare?OW: Ahem … I have nothing to declare but my own genius! Agent: Hmmmm … is that so? (thumbing through the “Prohibited Items” booklet) OW: See? That was worth is, wasn’t it? Agent: I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with me, sir.(Next time: Edgar Allen Poe gets pulled over for speeding.)

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