I flew out of town today. At the airport’s TSA checkpoint I was pulled aside for additional searching. Turns out, my hands tested positive for a chemical that was red flagged. I asked them what chemical it was. I didn’t get an answer. As two agents searched through my stuff, they commented how nicely folded everything was. When I got my stuff back, it wasn’t nicely folded anymore. After searching my laptop, one TSA agent set it precariously on the edge of the counter. I reached to move it (the second most expensive thing I own) to a safer position. I got yelled at.
I was taken to a private room for a full pat down. Fifteen minutes later I received said pat down. Surprise surprise, they didn’t find anything. I asked again what chemical they’d found on my hands. This time, one of them held up a slip of paper. I couldn’t quite make out what was written on it. So I asked what it said. One of the agents shrugged, “I don’t know, but it means we have to pat you down.” I asked if I could see the slip of paper. They said no. I asked if I should change the type of soap I use. They looked confused. The whole thing took about 25 minutes. It put me in a bad mood.
As serendipity would have it, while reading on the plane I came across the following passage by Seneca in On the Shortness of Life:
“So we should make light of all things and endure them with tolerance: it is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it. Bear in mind too that he deserves better of the human race as well who laughs at it than he who grieves over it; since the one allows it a fair prospect of hope, while the other stupidly laments over things he cannot hope will be put right. And, all things considered, it is the mark of a greater mind not to restrain laughter than not to restrain tears, since laughter expresses the gentlest of our feelings, and reckons that nothing is great or serious or even wretched in all the trappings of our existence.”
That reminded me of one of my favorite Key & Peele skits. Just thinking about it put me in a better mood.
Being angry is perfectly natural. But laughing is more fun.