I had no clue that my wife Jilda was a terrorist
. Yes, she got crossways with the Department of Homeland Security
this time last year when we traveled to Los Angeles.
The groundwork for the evil plan was laid at birth.
Some say the plot was hatched by a local doctor and others say
it was the handy work of her mom who was cranked up on birthing
drugs. Instead of Jilda; Gilda wound up on her "permanent
She has always gone by Jilda which never caused a problem until 9/11. Now every
time we board an aircraft, she gets hassled.
Last November we managed to fly out of Birmingham without getting maced, but
the return trip was a different story.
We arrived at the LA airport at 4 a.m. and the
pre-security screener caught the discrepancy between Gilda on her
photo ID and Jilda on her airline boarding pass. She immediately
jabbed a big honkin' RED STAMP on her boarding pass and said "they
can help you at the security checkpoint."
As we approached the checkpoint, they sent me
down the normal line, and they sent Jilda down the terrorist line.
She was in this glass tunnel-like enclosure along with a guy who
looked Persian, another guy that looked like one of those weird
Japanese cult members, and a middle-eastern woman that was menacing
the hired help. "You are singling us out," she hissed
in broken English.
I could not hear everything from my vantage point
outside the aquarium, but Jilda was looking around as if to say,
what is this "we stuff" lady? I’m from Empire,
Alabama and the closest thing to terrorism I’ve ever done
was to push over an outhouse when I was sixteen years old! “I
could almost hear the middle eastern woman saying “Save it
for the judge GILDA!”
I thought things were about to get ugly when the lady security officer started
snapping on rubber gloves. I can think of few occasions involving rubber gloves
that turned out well.
I guess Jilda thought I was going to bail out on her to save my own skin. She
was hollering through the thick glass, trying to tell me not to leave her to
The rubber gloved screener whacked the glass with
a stick and told Jilda to look straight ahead.
There was a very nice senior screener guy (he’d been a screener longer
than three weeks) standing there with me and I asked if they were going to
do a strip search on my wife. He grinned and said that they had to do a really
thorough search whenever there is any kind of discrepancy in the travelers
After that, the situation became much lighter for me, but unfortunately Jilda
could not hear those soothing words and she was still freaked. They searched
her purse, her shoes, checked her for explosives, and did the magic wand to
check for firearms. When they set her free, she was visibly shaken and when
she saw me laughing she was one angry spouse. I was so close to the doghouse
I could smell the Kibbles and Bits.
Things went smoothly after that and it's actually comforting to know that these
security folks are taking their job very seriously. As we boarded the plane
for home, I poked her in the ribs and said "look on the bright side, you
are now probably on the Department of Homeland Security's Terrorist Watch List."
That trip was the straw that broke the camel’s
back, because she vowed to get the spelling of the name on her
birth certificate corrected. This week she finally set the record
straight with the Department of Homeland Security when she received
the corrected documents.
I think we can all rest better now.