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    Here are some important TSA tips for this upcoming holiday season—and hopefully, we won’t have to use the electric fence this year.
 At the very least, arrive at the airport fifteen to seventeen hours before your flight departs. Ideally, you will be at the airport soon after you have purchased your ticket and camp at the boarding gate for three months. This will give you enough time to sit, wait, and gaze at the vast, teeming masses of humanity in one of their most vulnerable states.  
 By the time you board, you will wonder what exactly you have in common with these creatures you once called “fellow citizens” and “friends,” the same ones whom hunger and a two-hour plane flight has reduced to beings who would happily bargain your life for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  
 Should you have the unfortunate opportunity to be outside the United States for any period of time, having to deal with our friends in the Immigration Department will make sure you never leave again. The long lines of restless, testy citizens will confuse you, making you think that yes, this is the 1890s and no, immigration officer, I don’t have cholera. I swear.
 Under no circumstances should you attempt to smuggle in fruits, vegetables, or any animal byproducts, as the US customs form states, “Any fruit or vegetable not grown on American soil will single-handedly ensure the destruction of the US agricultural system.” They are, of course, referencing the year 1901 when Hans Kindersproot decimated the tuber crop with several potatoes he brought on the eight-day sea voyage from Europe.  
 Once accepted into the best country in the world, you would think your troubles are over, but you would be wrong. Whatever shreds of your dignity the Immigration Department left whole, we—the all-powerful TSA—will deconstruct.
 Going through security would seem to be a straightforward endeavor to protect our nation’s security. But we like to spice things up on boring days like Christmas or Thanksgiving and understaff crucial security checkpoints, pushing you close to “setting off that goddamn bomb” yourself.
 Thou shalt not have any water in a container, or the wrath of ye holy security team shall rain down upon thee. If we do our job well—and no guarantee on that—there will be no hydration on your flight, unless you manage to fill up a container by angling it into the miserable dribble of a drinking fountain, to which we respond, Well played Mr. Kulashenko. We know an old commie trick when we see one. We’ll be deporting you back to your socialist hellhole soon.
 Unfortunately, we usually see something suspicious in your backpack, a rounded object that might be a Frisbee but is more likely a complex thermonuclear detonation device. Oh, and we’ll find that blunt pocket knife too. Sure, you could have left it there by accident, but with three screaming children and a leaking sippy cup, we bet your plans are to hijack that airplane on the way to Minneapolis.
 The part we like best is where—after pawing through your personal items in blue safety gloves, as if you are a plague victim attempting to leave a quarantine area—we smash an object of our choice with a Patriot-Act-approved mallet. This procedure protects you from bad guys. No really.
 We also have a new imaging technology that will scan your soul for any latent evil or ties to fascists/Al-Qaeda operatives/people who have complained about a parking violation. Please raise your hands in the air as if a police officer is frisking you and hope to God this equipment doesn’t cause cancer. In fact, while you are in that position, say a few “Hail Marys” and think what it would like to be beaten and put on a cross.
 What we really want is to say is that we persecuted a religious savior. It fits nicely between “protected American lives” and “got a little carried away with that beating stick” when we apply for a position at Guantanamo. But that’s a couple years down the road. Right now, we just want to get through this holiday season without resorting to the cattle prod. So, try to remember these travel tips, and we’ll try to remember your Miranda rights.

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