According to the TSA: Snarky Comments are Now Illegal

Written by S.C. Sherman on October 18, 2013

I guess flying is a thing of the past for me. According to the TSA, ‘”inappropriate remarks or jokes” are now illegal. Yes, you can be arrested for making a joke with a TSA employee in an airport. Gone are the days of snapping a quick one liner at an awkward situation. Sayonara to making light of something obviously uncomfortable. This may prove to be unattainable for me and many other Americans quite fond of proving our intelligence and good humor with the evil and dreaded gift from God called …sarcasm.

I don’t fly often and I did notice a little seriousness the last time I flew. I chalked it up to my particular TSA agent not being a very funny individual, but now it’s proven to actually be TSA policy. No more funny business. Joking is absolutely inappropriate. This is serious business going through our personal belongings and copping a feel now and then. Funny people should basically show up with their carry on full of KY because its not gonna end well for those of us fond of a little snarky humor.

The last time I flew, I tossed my carry on onto the little conveyer belt and walked along with it. I was serious about not letting any unknown people get access to my bag. Really, because that happens all the time. Every time I go to the airport, some shifty guy comes up to me and asks if I can carry this little box on for him. He says it’s for his sick daughter who is gonna meet me at the other end of the flight. Is it just me or what? And then, I’m always like, should I or shouldn’t I? It’s terrible. So I keep a good eye on my bag, for the safety of the world, of course.

I was put on alert that funny opportunities were approaching because my wife, who knows me well, whispered to me, “Don’t say anything. Just go through.” She does know me well, but telling me to not say anything pretty much assures that my mouth may disengage from my brain temporarily. Well, a serious-looking TSA agent quickly unzipped my carry on and started going through it. He immediately found something. He frowned as he removed a brand new tube of tooth paste and a container of hair gel. The agent looking for scary items held them up over his head, one item in each hand and asked me, ‘What are these?”. My wife took a step or two back so as to not be affiliated with me. Thanks, honey. That’s just too much for a sarcastic person to take. I produced a stunned face and answered something like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know. It looks to me like a WMD masquerading as hair gel and tooth paste.”

I chuckled to myself as my wife glared at me and then looked away. I did suddenly realize that I was the only person giggling like an eight-year-old. The TSA gentleman took a deep breath and promptly confiscated my items. I couldn’t resist. “Do I get those back? They were almost clear full.” The kind sir answered with a curt, “No, you don’t get them back.” I could tell we were hitting it off.

At the time I had long, curly, black hair. I know what you’re thinking about men with long hair, but it was cool, really it was. It was kind of like Kurt Russell or Kris Kristofferson, not like some liberal occupy-wall-street-hippie. I continued, “Well where does it go? Do you give it to the poor or something?” No answer. Nothing from the agent, but a stone-faced stare. He’d obviously seen my kind before. My TSA agent had a shiny bald head. “That was expensive hair gel. You can have it. You take it home and use it.” I said with a smile. I held back the wink. He gruffly handed my bag back to me as I could see his veins bulging and his forehead reddening.

My wife pushed me along. She snapped at me, “Stop it!” I realized right then why people like to drink on flights and in the airport. I thought travelling was supposed to be fun. I guess not. Apparently, things are even worse now and I would actually be in hand cuffs with my “bad attitude” and quick wit. Or at the very least I would be taken into the back room for a “special victims unit” pat down or better yet a cavity search. It would be at this point I would bring out all the good ones from the movie Fletch … Moon Riiiver … ever serve time…got the whole fist up there?

I still believe a little wise-cracking goes a long ways to lighten a day. Laughing at life is kind of part of it if you ask me. Well, I guess the TSA and our benevolent government disagree with that. I better drive wherever I go or I could be serving some hard time for being just a little too inappropriate. It’s a serious job annoying people all day long in the airport, absolutely nothing to make fun of. If we are going to arrest people for “inappropriate remarks or jokes” I’m doomed. Might as well turn myself in.

S.C. Sherman
S.C. Sherman grew up a farm kid in rural Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communications Studies. Steve is a business owner, and recently ran for Iowa State House of Representatives.. S.C. enjoys political commentary and great stories. He has written three fiction novels found at He currently lives with his wife and four children in North Liberty, Iowa.