I used to have a trick. Or thought I did; now I see I was just lucky. I’m a huge NASCAR fan – stock car racing has a rich history and is a lot more exciting to watch than most other competitions. I’m looking at you, football, which has about 11 minutes of actual playing over the course of a three hour game, or baseball, which is basically a bunch of guys standing around for hours at a time. With NASCAR racing, it’s wall-to-wall energy – speeding cars, lightning-fast pit stops (I’m a gearhead, so I enjoy watching the pit stops almost as much as the race itself), and the occasional heart-stopping crash. What’s not to love?
Well, the security line, for one. It’s a crazy world these days so I understand the need for security, but man those lines are long and they move slow. Part of the problem are people who seem amazed to find security. They show up with enough gear for a camping trip and then stand there and argue when the security guys won’t let them in with all of it.
So, my trick: I know they officially require clear bags at these things, so they can see what’s in your bag – a picnic lunch, or a submachine gun. I didn’t have a clear bag, so what I would do is bring my usual backpack and have it wide open for inspection when I got to the gate. The security guys were usually okay with that – they’d look it over, run their eyes over it, and pass me through. Then, suddenly, a few weeks ago, they stopped letting me through. Apparently someone had gotten on them about their lax enforcement of the rules, and they weren’t letting anything slide. It was a clear bag or no race for me. Everyone else I talked to had the same story, and we all began shopping for clear bags that weren’t ridiculous – none of us are exactly high-fashion types, after all.
I eventually found a skull and crossbones tote bag that was just the right size. It was made out of clear PVC – strong enough for a six-pack of soda, my radio, and anything else I wanted to bring. I was kind of surprised that I liked the look of it so much – I started carrying that thing everywhere. You know how sometimes your wife – or when you’d a kid, your mother – buys you some clothes and at first you’re horrified and can’t imagine why they’d think you should wear that, and then you finally do wear it and it becomes your favorite pair of pants or shirt or whatever? That’s this bag: I saw it and though, aw, heck no. Now I bring it to my bowling night – and to every NASCAR race, where I sail through security like a boss.