I was traveling this weekend, and for the first time had to choose between an airport pat down search and an intrusive full body scan.  Did you know that those TSA guys don't have a sense of humor? The conversation at the security checkpoint went something like this.

TSA Guy 1: Do you want a pat down or a full body scan?

Scott: They both sound good.

TSA Guy1: What?

Scott: If I do the full body scan, am I allowed to twirl?

TSA Guy1: Excuse me?

Scott: Can I see who's doing the pat downs before I decide?

TSA Guy1: It's that officer (pointing).

Scott: (sexily) Ooh, yes. That will do nicely. Grrrrrr.

TSA Guy1: (Dirty look) Step over there.

Scott: Can you help him? It will be twice as fast...for both of us, if you know what I mean.

TSA Guy2: (angry look)

The pat down guy waves me into position and tells me to put my arms up. I let out a creepy moan of delight. He sneers at me with a "Let's just get this over with" attitude and starts in.

TSA Guy2: This will only take a second.

Scott: What if you find a suspicious package?

TSA Guy2: We don't search for packages, sir.

Scott: That's not what my scanner says.

He ignores me and starts patting my right leg, from low to top.

Scott: (creepily) That's it...oh yeah...That's what I'm talking about.

The TSA guy stands abruptly and motions over his supervisor, a woman in her early forties. By this point, I'm all in. Before she gets to us, I say one last thing to the TSA guy in a hushed voice.

Scott: Now it's a party. She can do from my waist up.

He ignores me. The supervisor comes over.

Supervisor: (sternly) What is the problem here, sir?

The TSA guy tries to explain what's happening, but he discovers that it doesn't translate when repeated in a serious monotone. So he changes his approach and says something vague about me not taking the process seriously. His supervisor decides to back him.

Supervisor: Sir, if you don't take this seriously, I'll have to have you handcuffed.

Scott: Can I choose the handcuffs and the full body scan at the same time? I've been practicing some dance moves at home.  Can they burn a DVD for me?

At this point in my story I should confess that none of this actually happened. And I don't recommend that you try anything like it.

I'm fascinated by the fact that humor and reality are intertwined. The only thing that made this story funny (if you saw it that way) was your assumption, to a point, that it really happened. This same story in the context of a fictional novel wouldn't be nearly as interesting. That's why you rarely see humor books on best seller lists. Fictional humor doesn't interest modern readers, and real life is rarely rich enough to fill a book. Case in point, the best humor writer of our time, David Sedaris, apparently has the triple advantage of:

1.       Immense talent

2.       An astoundingly dysfunctional childhood

3.       No shame about embarrassing loved ones.

The reality-as-humor trend is a fairly recent phenomenon, at least in its fullness. In my opinion, Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series wouldn't have been successful if it came out today. In its time, it was a treasure. Society's notion of humor evolves.

I have a theory that kids of this generation don't laugh at manufactured humor, even though they consume it in great quantities on TV and in movies. The exception is any sort of fart joke. But for kids, farts are about reality.

If you have kids, do they laugh out loud at humorous TV shows or movies that do not depict reality? You might think they do, or assume they do, but pay close attention over the holiday. You might be surprised.

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Nov 26, 2010
You're a terrorist!

Kidding, but I really want to do this when I fly next month. I'll write you a postcard from Gitmo.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 25, 2010
My god you make me wanna twirl next time i go through the security checkpoints! Thanks for the wonderful suggestion! >.<

At the metal detector section;

Officer: Please empty your pockets of metal objects and put them in the little basket there, then step over here please.
Me: Can I twirl whilst I carry my basket? I'm currently into Little Red Riding Hood~
Officer: (Expression) =____="

Maybe they would do a complusory blood test in the future when moving through checkpoints to seperate the loonies from the normals and make the security checks more efficent, though devoid of morals, common sense and privacy... HAH...

Thx Scott! You'll know its me when you check the news soon~

To all the serious folks who read this, I'm really joking...
Nov 24, 2010
As a hobby I write screenplays. I've just written a comedy and think it's gonna be laugh out loud funny. Cause the trick is that people don't laugh at people having fun, telling jokes and having a good time. People laugh at that when they're with friend, but in movies and sit coms, people laugh at people being in terrible trouble, misunderstanding stuff, being confused and doing stuff that makes them look stupid.

In Charlie Chaplins day, slap stick was big. Stepping on a banana peel and falling on your ass was terrific fun. And it's still the same except now it's more refined. The banana peel have to be a curious social situation and the ass falling gotta be an interesting way of getting it wrong.

I think comedy is when something is okay and not okay at the same time, and it happens so fast that the brain get's flooded for a micro second. Laughing is basically a way of saying "it's okay" to something socially ambiguous.
Nov 23, 2010
My fifteen year old son (and his friends I might add) are in stitches watching South Park. I think it's the combination of a cartoon and dirty jokes. Teenage boys will find raunchy cartoons hysterical for the rest of time.
Nov 22, 2010
Hey, why did that post twice? Now I feel like a total berk.

Nov 22, 2010
Hey, my books are funny and fiction and the last 4 were New York Times Bestsellers. Each for about five weeks. My novel Lamb has sold a couple of million copies worldwide. It's funny.

Just saying. Your thesis may be monkey toss...

In a nice way, though.

Your pal,
Christopher Moore
Nov 22, 2010
Hey, my books are funny and fiction and the last 4 were New York Times Bestsellers. Each for about five weeks. My novel Lamb has sold a couple of million copies worldwide. It's funny.

Just saying. Your thesis may be monkey toss...

In a nice way, though.

Your pal,
Christopher Moore
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 22, 2010
The trouble with Scott's idea is that unless you are a well-known comic, the likely result is that you get put on a list as a troublemaker (or maybe some kind of pervert) and can never fly again.

I suggest instead that everyone just eat a nice big bowl of chili with green peppers an hour before boarding. They'll never prove it was intentional, much less that it was aimed at them.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 22, 2010
I knew a guy who was smart with airport security here in Australia. Now, a slap, a snap of a rubber band, or anything that sounds like someone pulling on a latex glove, or the words "cavity search" make him wince ...
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 22, 2010
I actually did something like this during a military urinalysis test back in the early '90s.

I was "randomly" selected for drug testing 4 times in one year. (How random is that?) Anyway, I decided I was going to get even with someone for the harrassment, etc.

When it came my time to "donate", I stood there filling the bottle, and started moaning with delight! Hahaha! Quite loudly, actually. My "escort" -- whose job it was to stand there and watch me fill said specimen container -- started looking around in embarrassment. Some of the other "escorts" were fidgeting uncomfortably. A few other "randomly-selected individuals" standing at the wall-mounted units started laughing. One senior NCO came over and demanded to know "What the @#$% was I doing?!"

My answer: "I'm taking a drug test?! Can't you tell?!"

End result: I was never selected on a "random" test again! LOL!

As for kids, it's interesting to see what a 2.5 year old -- soon to be 3 year old -- finds funny. Stupid noises, funny voices, pratfalls, all get him laughing. He just recently discovered that if you pinch your nose and talk, it really sounds funny! (It's even more funny when Daddy does it!)

He likes watching "Bob the Builder". In one episode, Bob is cleaning out a stinky drainpipe, and wears a clothespin on his nose. The nasal "twang" puts the kid on the floor every time!

Nov 22, 2010
You nailed it: it's the reality that makes the funny. The shock factor. The "I can't believe that !$%* happened, except for the part where I was right there and it happened" factor. Or as Dave Barry would say, "I am not making this up."

I have a lot of Sedaris-esque stories, most of which I wouldn't believe myself except for the part where I was there, and sometimes there are witnesses to the crazy.
Nov 22, 2010
The reason H2G2 wouldn't catch on nowadays is because the illogic is too similar to reality to be funny.
Nov 22, 2010
I knew it wasn't real on the first line. They don't ask whether you want a pat-down or full-body scan. The full body-scan is presumptive, and you only get the pat-down if you opt out of the full-body scan.

I still found it humorous, but I'd have been rolling if I thought it was real. I've actually been expecting something like this to really happen, and have been disappointed that I haven't seen a news story about someone pranking the TSA by thoroughly enjoying the "aggressive pat-down."
Nov 22, 2010
It sounds like you're saying that kids didn't really like Wedding Crashers
Or they didn't really laugh
Or they though it was reality.

It's hard for me to believe any of these is true.

Scott, are you only viewing movies at home? There is certainly less laughing at home than in a theater where it's amplified by the audience effect.
Nov 22, 2010
XD I assumed it wasn't real once I got to the "Grrrrr" part. It was still hilarious, though!

And I agree, David Sedaris is amazingly funny.

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 22, 2010
Scott - do the Simpsons count as non-reality?

Next time at the security checkpoint, be sure to wear your kilt for more giggles!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 22, 2010
My oldest kid *loved* hitchhiker's guide. He read it for the first time 7 years ago when he was 10 and then re-read the entire series at least 4 more times. He can still quote long passages on request. Then again, we don't watch TV at our house - so no sitcom exposure.
Nov 22, 2010
You are speaking my language Scott. Adams and Sedaris are two of my favorite authors. I would also like to point out that I am of a relatively new generation (born mid-eighties) and I laugh heartily at manufactured humor. Maybe I am an extreme case or maybe I just caught the tail end of the generations that love the stuff. Of course, I wasn't raised ENTIRELY during the net generation so maybe that makes a difference.
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 22, 2010
i knew it was fiction when the security guy didn't put you in a headlock at your first quip.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 22, 2010
My 6 yr old boy laughs loudest when some "bad guy" is getting creamed. I think he would find Tom & Jerry or ye olde Road Runner cartoons (remember when they let you see the Coyote hit the ground) hysterical...but understand, he's on a milk fed diet of PBS cartoons only.

Another interesting note...over the summer, we saw Toy Story 3 in the theatre, with my son, my 7 yr old niece, and two 3.75 year old girls. (daughter & niece). The older kids were freaking out & very concerned when the hero toys were about to be melted. The 3.75 year old girls calmly watched & ate their popcorn, since they haven't developed the ability to empathize yet.
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