Wednesday, July 20, 2022

An Open Letter to the TSA

Dear Transportation Security Administration,

Let me start off by just saying what a great job you all are doing. I know you are obviously not a petty or vindictive group, based on the personalities I’ve run across with your agents over the last twenty years. You are a crack squad of mentally-balanced, well-adjusted, and rational folks. That’s for sure.

Even though I know you would never ever hold a grudge, I just want to make it clear up front here that I’m on your side and I think you’re great. You’re a dedicated group of patriots, keeping us safe, even when those other people (not me) don’t think you’re doing a good job. Or even a marginally reasonable job.

I’ve even heard some of them say your airport agents are most likely hired outside popular fast-food establishments when rejected applicants are exiting from their failed interviews with the twenty-three-year-old managers. I don’t think that’s true, and I would obviously never say anything like that into a recording device.

So, now that it’s clear that I love you and think you are all top notch yet undervalued, underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated, I’d like to suggest a few things, if I may.

I noticed something on our recent family trip to Washington, D.C., where you are doing a superb and again, underappreciated job of administrating your organization. We were making our initial contact with your agents at the end of the winding rope line in front of security. Our family of five assembled in front of an ebullient TSA agent and she began to check our passports. (We weren’t sure if Washington, D.C. was its own country yet or not, so we brought passports as our identification just in case.)

Our three teenage boys were behind me, acting like teenage brothers, which in this case meant they were flexing at each other and telling the other one they looked small and weak. She looked at them and instead of choosing one and asking to see his passport, she very graciously decided to do some parenting for us.

She snapped at them to listen up and then told them that they were in an airport, and that even though they were not adults yet, they were old enough to take her TSA security station very seriously, just like it should be taken, because she was serious about her job and they needed to be serious about her job also, even if they didn’t understand how serious it was yet, because they were not really adults yet, but they were at an airport. (Or something to that effect. I’m going to be honest with you here, she started to ramble a little bit, and as an actual adult already, I kinda lost track of her point.)

So, anyhoo, I just wanted to make some friendly suggestions about the possibility of maybe putting your applicants through some sort of personality tests and screening procedures during the hiring process. I’ve taken the liberty of coming up with a few questions to ask prospective agents that I think might be helpful.


1) Have you ever been rejected for any or all of the following due to mental or physical fitness reasons?




Volunteer fire

911 operator

Security guard


Nightclub bouncer

Personal trainer

Walmart receipt checker

Walmart greeter

2) Were you horribly tormented as a youth by an older sibling or a school bully?

3) Does the idea of becoming a TSA agent give you an unbelievable electric sensation of unbridled power up your spine?

4) Does the idea of performing a secondary screening pat down on a stranger fill you with any feeling other than mild discomfort?

5) Does the idea of making someone late for their flight fill you with glee? 

6) Do you have a foot fetish of any kind?

7) Given the opportunity, would you open a stranger’s luggage to inspect it without being asked to do so?

8) Do you fully understand how dangerous more than 3.4 ounces of any liquid can really be?

9) Do you have a burning desire to see everyone’s portable electronic devices, such as laptop computers?

10) In this sample picture of an X-ray screen, do the machete and the souvenir coffee mug look identical to you?

11) Prior to coming to this interview today, were you ever turned down by Taco Bell because they didn’t think you could be trusted with the sour cream gun?

12) Do you desperately want this job for any other reason besides a steady paycheck?


I think these types of questions could be a great addition to the already amazing hiring process you have in place.

Again, I think you’re doing a really great job.

Yours in honor and security,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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