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Good guys get the beeps

FOR some reason I am no longer a threat to airport security. But there was a time when I could not get within 20 feet of a checkpoint without setting electrical systems into a frenzy of buzzers, beeps, and flashing lights that would shame a pinball machine. Since I am at heart the antipode of a terrorist, I can only presume that these devices are consumed with some kind of bias against me. Why is it that alarms are sounded when innocent people like me go through the gate while all kinds of thugs walk on through without a single jingle?

When signals began to scream upon my approach, the usual procedure was for two female officials to close in and usher me to one side -- away from innocent people. Then they would go over my entire person with a Geiger-like gadget that elicited hysterical ticking sounds out of every part of me.

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One guard even asked, ``Do you have any plates in your head?''

I answered in the negative, although one had been dropped on me recently.

The worst part was having to empty my pockets. One time I had to lay out a handful of diamonds. Of course they were fake diamonds from a theatrical performance, but within 20 minutes the entire concourse was filled with FBI agents.

Another embarrassing scene was taking out five bottle caps. They are not lethal weapons, but they do arouse intense suspicions as to why anyone would be carrying them.

I could see those ferretlike people mulling it over and sizing me up as a communist.

Lately my wife has been going through my pockets. Her digs have removed paper clips, a shoehorn from the Hilton, an airplane lapel pin with a free-spinning prop, a small screwdriver, and other odds and ends. Some of our friends think this is why I now go through security checks with comparative ease.

But I'm not so sure.

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It's more likely that mechanical devices have stopped regarding me as an enemy. After all, computers do take on a life of their own.

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