Finding the funny in a speaker’s life
13 Minutes To Glory
TSA recommends you arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes ahead of your departure time. I once did it in 13 minutes (post 9/11). This is a true story.
(However, humorous blandishments
have been added for color and taste.)
Here’s how it all went down.
6:47 a.m. I arrive at the short-term
parking garage (cha-ching!) at St. Louis’
Lambert International Airport. My
plane leaves at 7 a.m.
6:48 a.m. I gather my belongings and
bolt across the garage to the terminal.
I inadvertently knock down an older
woman, but as I look back through the
closing elevator doors, she gives me the
thumbs-up that everything’s OK.
6:50 a.m. I reach security. (Note:
At this stage of my career I’m not an
A-Lister or Platinum Flier, so I’m forced
to wait in line with the common folk.)
The line stretches far beyond the zigzag
velvet-roped cattle run. I walk up to a
passenger at the front of the line, wave a
$20 bill, and say, “I’m so sorry. My mom
forgot to wake me up this morning, and
my flight leaves in exactly 10 minutes.
Would you mind terribly if I jumped
in line here?” (I use a Kermit the Frog
voice just to keep her off-balance and
to avoid a prolonged negotiation.) She
grabs the bill, and I’m in.
6:55 a.m. After my ID and boarding
pass are verified, I’m faced with one of
life’s most perplexing mysteries: which
security line to choose. Sort of like
Indiana Jones trying to pick the right
chalice. There’s the deceptively long
line, which in hindsight actually moves
rather quickly. (That was the correct
choice.) There’s the middle line, which
appears to harbor at least one TSA
agent-in-training. Then there’s the line
I choose because it’s the shortest, but I
soon discover it’s populated entirely by
first-time travelers. These people are
completely disoriented by all the fancy
X-ray equipment and seem to have
trouble figuring out which of their
belongings are made of metal.
6:58 a.m. It’s finally my turn to enter
the full-body scan machine, and I can’t
help striking a pose à la Project Runway
as the monitor records a TMI image of
my 43-year-old physique.
6:59 a.m. Release the doves! I pass
through unscathed. No random search. So
I put my boarding pass in my mouth and
frantically throw my laptop, phone and
coins back in my briefcase like I’m evacu-
ating a hurricane. There’s no time to put
my shoes on, but I’ve always thought I run
faster in socks. It’s off to the races.
7:00 a.m. Unbelievably, my flight is
just two gates north of security, and
I see the gate agent about to shut the
door. I beg for leniency and flash my
best big-eyed Puss ‘n’ Boots face. He
says, “Aw, what the heck.” (I think I’m
going to name my next child after him.)
7:01 a.m. As I take my middle seat,
I look down and realize I’m holding
a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps. They
didn’t fit very well, but they looked
great with my outfit.
Steve Hughes helps people look and sound smart when they talk. He’s done some cool things for some great organiza- tions. Find out what he can do
for you. Reach him at (314) 821-8700,
steve@Hit YourStride.com or