What Those TSA Guys Are Really Saying
Definitions in “The Insider’s TSA Dictionary” taken from James Harrington’s blog, “Taking Sense Away.”
10-100: Originally, CB radio lingo for a bathroom break. This is what some TSA officers say when they’re tired of their co-workers.
Alfalfa: TSA malespeak for an attractive female passenger.
Baby-shower-opt-out: When a woman opts out of the full body scanner and accidentally lets slip the explanation: “I don’t want to go through the scanner. I’m pregnant,” evoking a shriek from her fellow traveling companions, “Why didn’t you tell us, Becky? OH EM GEE!?” A mini celebration then takes place right there in the line. It is one of the few heartwarming things that ever come about due to the full body scanners.
BBC: Bogus Bag Check, or Bullshit Bag Check. What happens when a not-too-bright x-ray operator decides to call a bag search.
Bin Loader: What a TSA employee is for the first month of his or her employment.
Code Red: Officer malespeak. Denotes an attractive female passenger wearing red.
Fanny Pack, Lane 2: Code for an attractive female passenger.
Jif Peanut Butter: One of the main things you’ll be saving the world from in your day-to-day activities as a sworn federal security officer devoted to protecting the nation from the existential terrorist threat.
Opt out: A smart passenger.
Retaliatory wait time: What happens when a TSA officer doesn’t like your attitude. There are all sorts of ways a TSA officer can subtly make you wait longer to get through security, citing imaginary alarms, going “above the SOP” for “a more thorough screening,” pretending that something in your bag or on your full body image needs to be resolved—the punitive possibilities are endless, and there are many tricks in the screener’s bag.
Run the Cat Through the X-Ray (idiomatic): Denotes a passenger, usually someone from out of country, who is so unfamiliar and lost in U.S. airport security that they are likely to make significant errors, such as running their cats through the x-ray tunnel. Ex: “We need an officer to go out and help that flustered gentleman out front before he runs the cat through the x-ray.”
Suitcase Surgeon: Informal term for a TSA employee, derived from the blue gloves they wear. Used ironically, because it’s not like what the TSA ever does requires anything remotely approaching the mental capacity of a surgical procedure anyway, even though you may feel as though you’ve undergone a surgical procedure after they’re done with you.
TSA Baby: Officer slang for the result of procreation between two TSA officers. This is not advised, because statistics show that the likelihood of a TSA baby turning out to be a mediocrity who reflexively snatches and cries incessantly about people’s liquids, gels, creams and aerosols and who tells airplane pilots that they are not allowed to bring Swiss army knives on the plane because they may use it to hijack the plane are substantially high.
White Shirt: A TSA employee who still believes his or her job is a matter of national security.
Xray Xray Xray!: Code for an attractive female passenger, general.
Yellow Alert: Code for an attractive female passenger, yellow clothing.
Ziptop baggie: A magical thing that renders liquids safe for airplanes.