Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where even Decibel the parrot isn't a frequent flier! If the airline industry relied on la famille Johnson, it would have gone under years ago.
However, Mr. Johnson just returned from a business trip to Florida. When he opened his checked baggage, he found a little note from the Transportation Security Administration. It was a NOTICE OF BAGGAGE INSPECTION.
A deputy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had opened Mr. Johnson's bag to look at its contents. The mildewed swim trunks must have been a big hit.
The little note the TSA left behind said that the contents had been removed from Mr. Johnson's bag and put back in again. It warned that locked bags might have to be pried open, so don't lock your bag. If you do, don't expect TSA or Homeland Security to buy you new luggage. It's your problem.
The bottom of the little note reads: "Smart Security Saves Time." That's actually a secret code for "VOTE REPUBLICAN: WE'RE TOUGH ON TERROR."
It must be a disheartening job, rifling through suitcases full of dirty clothing, sandy socks, and well-thumbed paperback beach novels. So Annie says, let's liven up the dull jobs of the Homeland Security bag-sifters!
The next time I travel by air, my checked bag will contain a nice, handwritten note on scented stationery (I have some I inherited from my late mom.)
The note will say:
Hello, and welcome to the luggage of Anne Johnson! It's a pleasure to have you rifle through these belongings. Anne feels so much safer, knowing that you consider her a terrorist until proven otherwise by close examination of her underwear.
Please pay close attention to the following, which will make Anne's trip happier and stress-free:
1. Please return the condoms and astro-glide to the zipped compartment from which you took them for inspection. Please be aware that Anne counts condoms, and if there are any missing she will contact the Department of Homeland Security immediately.
2. The old brochures from previous vacations are arranged in alphabetical order. Please see to it that they remain in alphabetical order when you return them to the suitcase.
3. The box of tampons contains tampons. Anne counts these too.
4. Sorry about the rubber spider. The kids hid him in this bag in 1997 and it's been a running gag ever since.
5. Please leave your little calling card behind in a prominent place in this bag, so that Anne will know to go straight to a laundromat when her plane lands. The thought of strangers fingering her undergarments is decidedly distasteful, so distateful, in fact, that she would rather take her odds-on chances that some suitcase in this stack actually contains a bomb.
Thank you for visiting Anne's luggage. It's always wise to be suspicious of a middle-aged suburban housewife flying out to see her relatives in Tulsa.
Of course you can modify this note to your particular personal circumstances.
Today you get two sets of free advice for the price of one!
ANNIE'S TIPS FOR BAGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL!
1. If you are going to see a relative in Tulsa, get a box, shove clothes and undies and condoms and tampons into it, and mail it to the relative about two weeks before you plan to be there. Board the plane carrying only your purse, with toothbrush and meds inside it. At the end of your visit, shove the clothes, condoms, etc. back into the box and mail them home to yourself. Hey, if you can afford the plane ticket to Tulsa, you can parcel-post your Jockey shorts.
2. If you are going on a whirlwind tour of Paris, board the plane carrying only your purse, with toothbrush and meds inside. Have the hotel consierge direct you to a pharmacy, a department store, and a thrift store. Purchase enough used outerwear and new underwear to see you through your trip. At journey's end, leave the stuff in the hotel room. (If you like it better than your stuff at home, mail it to yourself as per advice in #1, above.)
If you don't think I really travel like #2 above, go ahead. Invite me to Paris. I'll see you at the arrival gate, carrying nothing but my purse.
Em, could you please buy my plane ticket?