Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Sister Writes A Guest Blog

So, I'm at the airport, waiting for my fourth 'opt out' of the week.  For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, this is what TSA calls it when you refuse the radiation scan they now prefer to the metal detector.  Or, your other choice is the Opt Out where you are physically searched and examined by a gloved pair of hands.  After the search, the gloves are wiped with a piece of cotton and submitted to a computer which tests the cotton for nitro-glycerin.  Now most people aren't comfortable with the thought of being touched.  Or, (I suspect) they submit to the scan to avoid additional hassle, or perhaps (chillingly enough) from blind obedience to authority, or misplaced trust in technology and/or government.

Me?  I say, go for broke.  Grope away.

Years ago I was set to join the Peace Corps.  I'd jumped through all the hoops, undergone medical testing etc. and was awaiting news of my posting.  It came and I was scheduled to be sent to the Ukraine.  When I expressed misgivings about exposing myself to the radiation which was the aftermath of Chernobyl and which had permeated the Dneiper River, and hence the fish, and the fruit-trees that lined the river, etc.; they said, well, we'll measure you regularly with the Geiger counter.  I said, well at that point, if there's a reading all bets are off, aren't they?  Their response was 'well the the government isn't going to do anything to hurt you' and I immediately flashed on the Tuskegee Experiment and declined.  Potentially shortening my life span by a decade or so didn't seem like a wise decision.

So, as I am in line waiting to 'Opt out,' an expression for expressing my freedom to choose to be patted down like a common criminal, wherein, in this instance, I'm guilty before being proven innocent, I hear the toneless drone of the video monitor intoning that the X-Ray machine will expose me to less radiation (or not 'me' technically in this case) as the machine has less radiation than you will receive on the plane.

Oh goodie, I think.  That makes great sense.  I'll just double up on my radiation.

You know of course that, scientifically speaking, the dose doesn't matter.  It only takes one rogue particle for the radiation to begin converting your DNA.There is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation.


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