FLINT - Influential journalists like me often get criticized for merely pointing out problems.
"Why don't you offer a solution for a change?" people will say.
My response is usually that you don't want someone like me solving problems, especially if I've had too much coffee.
But, fine, have it your way. Since I just finished three cups, I hereby suggest the following solutions to the airport full body scans and aggressive pat-down searches that have people so upset right now.
1) Bring back streaking.
When I was a kid, streaking was a huge fad. Why, I don't know. But people were running all over the place without their clothes on, and the thing is I never once saw a streaker with a body that would qualify him or her for Playboy or Playgirl.
The point being that we're all more or less physically unremarkable. What you have I have, and vice versa, just in different proportions. So we should just learn to relax about it all.
Maybe if streaking became popular again people would do just that and stop thinking that TSA workers looking at computer images of us are either laughing, gasping or jabbing the button we all suspect they have that sends our scan directly to the Internet.
2) Only wear skirts or kilts when you fly.
That idea was suggested this week by The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, who wrote: "Think about it - if you're a male, and you want to bollix-up the nonsensical airport security-industrial complex, one way to do so would be to wear a kilt. While it is probably illegal to fly without pants, I can't imagine that it's illegal to fly without underpants. If you are Scottish, or part Scottish, or know someone who is Scottish, or eat Scottish salmon, or enjoy Scotch, or have a vestigial affection for "Braveheart" despite Mel Gibson, you can plausibly claim some sort of multicultural diversity privilege." I am of Scottish descent and I do enjoy Scotch, so this may be my personal solution. At the very least the Scotch would help me forget that I wore a kilt in public.
3) A better solution, though, might be underpants. I've long suggested that the most logical response to extreme airport security is to eliminate the need for it by showing up to the airport wearing your undergarments and nothing more. What's to scan or pat if you're wearing tighty-whiteys, or the equivalent thereof?
4) Keep the scans and aggressive pat-downs as they are, but combine them with some of the more indelicate medical tests and procedures, such as the turn and cough one for guys. Hey, why not kill two birds with one grope?
This brings me to my final solution, which I suspect is the one that we as a nation and individuals truly need to embrace.
5) Get over yourself and your embarrassment/sense of indignation.
The way I see it, modern security measures may be annoying but they're the price you pay for flying safely in the age of terrorism.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.