Didn't embarrass this writer, as he knew his first scan was coming and went on a strict diet and exercise program so he could look dynamically buffed in the ghostly nude shot taken by Uncle Sam, but TSA denied his request for a copy to post on his Twitter account, a la Weiner. The request caused a major security huddle, as the low-ranking scanner, who had apparently taken a heavy dose of whatever special drug they give security employees to entirely eliminate any sense of humor they might have once possessed, had to consult with his superiors as to whether the scannee (myself) had violated the TSA's posted "No joking" policy and therefore had to be detained as a terrorism suspect.
This author was allowed to board the aircraft eventually, which made him better off than Robert Sayegh, of Brooklyn, recently booted off a Delta flight in Detroit for using the F-word while being subjected to one of the numerous flight delays that Delta offers. Sayegh was flying back from a wedding in Kansas City and admitted to being hung over while uttering the vernacular for sexual intercourse to a fellow passenger. Big, surly men who use the F-word frequently may be unpleasant to be around, but they are not terrorists. Big, surly men with colorful vocabularies are whom Uncle Sam sends to kill terrorists. Thirty-four of them were recently charged $2,800 in extra bag fees by Delta while returning from deployment in Afghanistan. It hardly seems possible that none of them used the forbidden F-term while being informed that they had to pay extra to get their equipment back to their base. Delta made them cough up the fees, but didn't kick any of them off the flight. What you need to keep in mind about flying Delta from all this is that if you want to curse on board, bring at least thirty-three friends.
After boarding his (non-Delta) flight, the author discovered that his newly remodeled body didn't fit into a coach seat any better than any of his previous physiques and that flying on an American carrier now even more closely resembles being jailed, except in jail they give you better food and pillows and don't charge you for them, and you can use the toilet in your cell as often as your kidneys bid you. Liability concerns mean that the pilot turns on the seat belt sign the minute he spots a cloud.
During the five minutes the passengers were allowed to unbuckle themselves during the five-hour flight, they all rushed the hoppers, naturally, prompting the flight attendants to announce that the coach hoi-polloi were not allowed to use the first class toilets "FOR SECURITY REASONS." This, of course, is blood-curdling bullshit. Allowing coach passengers to urinate in the same facility as first-class passengers does not encourage Al Qaeda. Announcing that "The first class passengers, having paid more money for their flight, are entitled to their own john so they do not have to hop up and down in a frantic line in the aisle while squeezing themselves shut like the coach passengers do when the seatbelt sign is finally turned off," would win the airline points for frankness, in this passenger's opinion.
Flying Mexican from Tijuana to La Paz was an entirely different security experience. Mexico does not have the money for airport scanners or enough X-ray machines to check every passenger's luggage, so a human being roots through your luggage with gloved hands, which is probably no different in terms of effectiveness than having a bored TSA employee staring endlessly at skeletal images of blow-dryers and video games rolling by on a conveyor belt.
Despite their lack of scanners, the Mexicans do not arbitrarily yank elderly women out of security line and paw at them looking for weapons, as was the US custom not so long ago. Unlike Americans, the Mexicans are allowed to recognize that elderly women are not security threats. If you have forgotten that your metal sunglasses are on the top of your head before you go through the metal detector, the Mexicans allow you to simply take them off. You do not have to back up and put them in a tub so that they can be x-rayed separately, in case you have concealed enough explosive in them to blow off your own eyebrows during the flight.
Mexican flights are generally on time, because it is a poor country and doesn't have seventy or so airlines like the US does, all clogging up airports and air space. Once in the air, the seatbelt sign is turned off and left off until it is time to land. A twenty second spot of turbulence is not considered enough to make everyone sit down for a half-hour because Mexico is not afflicted with the vast army of tort-toting attorneys that plague this nation.
La Paz (Peace, in English) lives up to its name. There is no trace of the drug wars that afflict border Mexico and virtually no crime. The days and nights are warm, the tropical Sea of Cortez is blue, and the food is cheap and excellent. Most relaxing of the city's graces are the absence of the sort of ranting xenophobes who claim the US needs to build its version of the Berlin Wall across its southern border, and the shameless politicians that court them, who know that it is drug-addled Americans who buy all the dope that Mexican criminals smuggle north and cold-blooded Americans who sell Mexican criminals all the guns they use to kill each other down south, but tell their constituents nonetheless that they need to be protected from Mexico, because it is only the Mexicans that are all screwed up.
Those people are afraid to come here.