A letter from airport security


HUMOUR — We have your shampoo. We have your toenail clippers. We have your ski poles, your water guns, your Bic lighters, your aerosols and your meat cleavers. (Really, what were you thinking with the meat cleavers?)

Mr. Sampson, we have your Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo. Coleen Triplemeyer, we’ve got your shattered turquoise OPI nail polish — and we’re enjoying it. Suzy Sockette — born 2004, blond hair, blue eyes, headed to Chicago to visit the American Girl Place — I want you to know that your safety scissors have found a new home and are doing just fine. I use them on my 15s to cut the crossword out from the Times. Do I think, “Poor girl just wanted to do some arts and crafts”? Do I think, “There’s something twisted about looting an eight-year-old’s pencil case” while I slip my fingers into the eye rings of your petite, purple Crayola scissors and read your Sharpied initials, “S.S.,” on the handle? No.

We have your toothpastes, your eye drops, your Vaseline, your hand soaps, your moisturizers — in short: we have your everything. We think sometimes of how we could put together all of the possessions a human being requires many times over. Remember those jackets and sweaters with too many pockets in which to conceal contraband, and the sketchy looking shoes, the skater ones, the fat ones with the laces — and sometimes even heels? We have all the little pieces of all of your little lives stashed in a Fort Knox of all things pointy, potentially explosive, blunt, edged, flammable, hazardous and otherwise unfit to fly.

And we’re okay with that. Our break room’s a haven. A spa/rec room hybrid. A wacky warehouse not far from the baggage claim that rivals any McDonald’s PlayPlace.

When you see us on your way to visit your loved ones or to a vacation destination, don’t pity us. Don’t throw your metallic things in the tray on the belt and avoid eye contact while we wave the wand over you and pat down your buttocks and groin. It is tedious and uncomfortable, rifling through your things while you watch. But we’re uniformed pirates, and we’re scoping your booty.

It’s stress relieving, during lunch hour, to have the opportunity to shower, to massage our scalps with a new shampoo far above our price range. It’s a lot of fun, on our time off, to partake in Super Soaker fights. And it’s not too bad of a job at all when we let someone off the hook provided they quietly yield their contraband.

Derek Heele, we have your marijuana.

Miles Morales, I use the toothpick of your Swiss Army knife. Danuta Filfrank, thank you for the lube. Bobby Noot — born 2005, green eyes, brown hair, obnoxious, likely has cavities, returning from a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — I take joy in saying I have your wand. Remember me? I told you the wand was a weapon. You raised it to my face and said, “Wingardium leviosa.” But nothing happened. I told you I’d have to get my supervisor. You raised your wand to his face and said, “Avada kedavra.” But nothing happened. And then we took your wand. And then you cried. And now I’m watching people bid for it on eBay.

You see, we’re the ones who are magic.