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The No Fly Zone


Flying, for me, is never an easy feat. Not, you know, because I need to be medicated within an inch of my life to get on a plane or anything. I actually like to fly and am not a particularly nervous flier despite the whole nearly dying on the way back from LA thing that happened back in January.

(I submit that if I am to die on a motherfucking plane, there better be some motherfucking snakes, just because, you know, well, obviously)

But when I get on a plane, it’s always something with me.

Mostly, it’s because the world thinks I’m a terrorist or a super-secret-super-spy, which is probably the most laughable thing one could think about me because I can barely hide what I’m thinking, let alone if I were holding the world’s secrets in my bag or something.

(I do not play Poker, obviously, unless it is for pocket change)

This whole “Aunt Becky is a Terrorist” thing started when I was a kid, actually. I started getting pulled aside for extra searches long before 9-11 and the shoe bomber ever made headlines around the world.

When I was a kid, they’d often tear apart my stuffed animals in front of my stricken face to make sure that I wasn’t smuggling…uh…I don’t know what in them. Unsatisfied by the mere stuffing within, they’d move onto my luggage, and rip that apart, too.

Clearly, they never found anything. Your Aunt Becky may cop to many charges: ‘obnoxious,’ ‘painfully annoying,’ highly irritating,’ and ‘devastatingly handsome,’ but ‘terrorist’ and ‘drug smuggler’ are not two of them.

For some reason, every time I go through security, no matter what city I’m in, I’m constantly singled out for pat-downs, occasional strip-searches and the rare back-room interrogation.

My past is about as glamorous as dry toast, and while I have toured Europe (twice) with a traveling orchestra, it was never to any of the countries that might even raise an eyebrow. Even my current name: “Rebecca Sherrick Harks” or my given name “Rebecca Elizabeth Sherrick” aren’t exactly inspired to make you think, ‘Wow, that’s a terrorist name!’

In fact, I am primarily Swedish, Scottish, English and Black Irish, if you must know my pedigree. My swarthiness comes from the Black Irish.

And you know, if it had happened a handful of times, I’d have written it off as a coincidence. But it’s happened far too often for that. There’s clearly something in My Permanent Record that says,

“Rebecca Sherrick Harks (a.k.a Rebecca Elizabeth Sherrick), VERY bad blogger, likes to hang out in serial killer section of hardware stores, possible person of interest and should ALWAYS be subjected to extra security.”

It took me watching the full two seasons of Life, (boo, NBC, bring that show back!) to realize what my problem was: I do kinda look a little Middle Eastern.

I guess this means that until I remarry someone with a TOTALLY vanilla name (I’m looking at YOU Mr. John Smith), dye my skin and hair, I’ll probably always get a little action with my plane ticket.

Which, I guess, is a bonus.

Remind me not to pack my teddy bear, okay?


P.S. LOOK ON MY SIDEBAR! See that big button that says, “Aunt Becky Tees?” Yes, Pranksters, you can buy a Shut Your Whore Mouth shirt now. Um, AWESOME.

37 Comments to

“The No Fly Zone”

  1. On August 4th, 2010 at 11:26 am Becky Mochaface Says:

    You should totally take a teddy bear with you and when they rip it apart, burst into tears about how it’s for your niece who’s really really sick and all she wanted in this world was that specific teddy bear. And then glare at them and say “Way to go TSA. Thanks for making me the least favorite aunt this year.”

  2. On August 4th, 2010 at 11:31 am always home and uncool Says:

    I thought Black Irish was a myth like Bigfoot or Lady Gaga’s underwear.

  3. On August 4th, 2010 at 11:38 am Cindy Says:

    My husband actually looks like a terrorist. If I were Mrs. TSA I would do a public strip search on his ass looking for shoe bombs and shit! Problem is: he goes through security with no problems and I ALWAYS go through the “extra security”. I’ve been through the full body scan so many times that I swear I have cancer- somewhere! Maybe it’s because we’re cute, caucasion women- yes Becky, we have some similarities-it’s uncanny! Or maybe they just want to feel our boobs!

  4. On August 4th, 2010 at 11:40 am Barbara Says:

    This happens to my mom all the time.

  5. On August 4th, 2010 at 11:46 am Hamelet's Mistress Says:

    Yeah, so all that bothersome stuff aside… You’re so pretty. That’s all.


  6. On August 4th, 2010 at 11:47 am stacey@Havoc&Mayhem Says:

    TSA agents just think you are really really hot & strip searches are their way of getting to know you better.

    Everybody wants you. TSA just has the authority to act on their urges

  7. On August 4th, 2010 at 12:30 pm Andygirl Says:

    I used to never get stopped. now I *always* do. I’m pretty sure it’s because of my uber liberal rants over the phone. you never know who is listening (according to my dad). but so I must be on several watch lists by now. but hell, in my opinion, if you haven’t made it on some kind of list, you must be doing it wrong.

  8. On August 4th, 2010 at 12:37 pm ColinP Says:

    It could be that your lack of disguise is such a strong disguise that people feel that only a spy or terrorist could pull it off.

  9. On August 4th, 2010 at 12:47 pm CycleNinja Says:

    Dave Attel, a Jewish comedian, liked to say that his nickname was “Random Bag Check” because he looked like Andre Agassi with a drinking problem.

  10. On August 4th, 2010 at 1:11 pm MannyRee Says:

    Good luck not getting searched.

    I totally miss Life. I was going to marry that guy, and now I don’t remember who he is. šŸ™

  11. On August 4th, 2010 at 1:15 pm soccermom Says:

    That sucks. I dont fly often, but I never get singled out. I must blend well.

    What does that say about me? Look at me Im so freaking boring that no one notices me?

  12. On August 4th, 2010 at 1:17 pm Rebecca Says:

    I totally love the t-shirt. Think it would be a bit much to wear it to the PTO meetings? And I don’t know who the guy on the show Life is, but I think he’s hot. AND, last night I watched Plain Jane and I really love that show. AND AND! I tend to get the extra pat down search everywhere..I’ve only flown something like four times and each time on the way there and back, I was searched as were my things…….I also get searched more thoroughly at concerts and special events

  13. On August 4th, 2010 at 1:33 pm a Says:

    I loved Life – that was a most awesome show. Obviously it had to be cancelled. And that guy – whatever the star’s name is – he was really great in Band of Brothers too.

    Anyway, good luck flying. Hope you don’t get the random check…and to avoid it, might I suggest talking very loudly in line about how you always get subjected to extra inspection, and you wonder why people are profiling you because you’re fucking IRISH, for God’s sake, and you hope this time will be different (with pointed looks at the screeners).

  14. On August 4th, 2010 at 2:54 pm Txtingmrdarcy Says:

    That was my exact thought too!

    “Hey! It’s Major Winters!!” šŸ˜‰

  15. On August 8th, 2010 at 7:00 am Gunfighter Says:

    Damian Lewis is his name.

  16. On August 4th, 2010 at 1:42 pm Margaret Says:

    I went to high school with a kid whose last name was Bin Laden (and come to think of it, he probably WAS a distant cousin.)

    I wonder if they even let him BUY plane tickets these days?

    They let everyone named Hitler into art school, right?

  17. On August 4th, 2010 at 1:45 pm Kim Says:

    I don’t know if this makes you feel better or not, but I am as white as they get and I get second checked every damn time I go through airport security.

    I still haven’t figured out why.

  18. On August 4th, 2010 at 2:11 pm katrina Says:

    I think I am boring as hell, old, white, nothing unusual–really, NOBODY wants to see my saggy boobs. And yet, i get searched, patted and strip searched everytime i fly anywhere. (i guess a ‘cavity’ search would be the next step) I thought it must just be the US, but it happened in germany, france, italy and hungary. YOU on the other hand are just too cute…and you have boobs! Oh yeah, and i LOVE the whore mouth shirt, but i need a unisex, small.

  19. On August 4th, 2010 at 2:23 pm Cecelia Winesap Says:

    My husband never gets stopped and he has a record on which he totally should be. But no… they stop me because I haven’t done anything remotely illegal ever.

  20. On August 4th, 2010 at 2:32 pm Betty M Says:

    It is Damian Lewis in Life you guys.

    Until I was 21 I got stopped all the time. Now not so much. I’m half Iranian like the actress – pity I don’t look quite like that. You don’t have enough nose for an Iranian but could be maybe Lebanese?

  21. On August 4th, 2010 at 2:37 pm Julie Says:

    …Hell, I’d wand that.

  22. On August 4th, 2010 at 2:51 pm Kelly Says:

    I used to have to travel pretty frequently with my boss for work, and she got it every. single. time. I swear she never freaking caught on to it. She would try to go through with her belt, she wouldn’t take off her shoes, she would just be a huge dummy about it.

    Then we’d laugh and laugh behind her back.

  23. On August 4th, 2010 at 3:02 pm A Mom on Spin Says:

    Yeah, it’s the black Irish alright. . .

  24. On August 4th, 2010 at 3:11 pm K odell Says:

    man! I complained loudly to my “friends” because I got pulled aside once. Once. I was limping from a newly healed broken leg, and they thought I was carrying contraband or something- who knows. I can’t imagine having to deal with that crap often.

  25. On August 4th, 2010 at 3:38 pm pattypunker Says:

    love me some swarthy black irish. tsa can suck it, at least until they actually start thwarting real terrorists.

  26. On August 4th, 2010 at 4:24 pm Paul Says:

    “For some reason, every time I go through security, no matter what city Iā€™m in, Iā€™m constantly singled out for pat-downs, occasional strip-searches and the rare back-room interrogation.”

    I can’t say that I blame them…I don’t know that I could resist the temptation myself. šŸ˜‰

  27. On August 4th, 2010 at 4:35 pm Heather (qtberryhead) Says:

    I have similar issues. Just posted about how much I hate Delta actually.
    Unfortunately, the looking Middle Eastern had nothing to do with any of my issues…it’s just me.

  28. On August 4th, 2010 at 4:50 pm Erin Says:

    It used to irritate my friend in the military to wits end. He’d be in uniform, in the airport to fly to god-knows-where on deployment, with his military ID, papers with his orders, etc. And even after showing it all he’d be pulled out for super screening by TSA every time. His ethnic background is Turkish. But he’s been a US citizen all his life. The looks or the name are enough to make you suspect. Even if you’re on your way to fight for the very country TSA is trying to protect from you.

  29. On August 4th, 2010 at 5:12 pm Kate Says:

    I went from Zaiger to Edmonds…And now I don’t even get a second glance. You would think that I was a certified Nazi by the way they scrutinized me when I travelled. Now? ”
    Meh. She’s blonde and white and come ON her name is totally VANILLA! Go away.”

    I hope THIS trip you manage to escape with no torn up teddy bears!

  30. On August 4th, 2010 at 7:20 pm Krissa Says:

    Are you kidding me? The wee baby in that picture AND the older one of you don’t look remotely middle eastern.
    Now. TRY to think back to college and remember what all you did while under the influence. There must be SOMETHING bad/suspicious/illegal?

  31. On August 4th, 2010 at 8:05 pm Summer Says:

    I get stopped a lot too. On a band trip to France when I was in high school, my carry-on got torn apart by a large man shouting “whatz zees? Whatz zees?”. My teddy bear, underwear and piccolo were all tossed about in front of my peers. Very embarassing. Don’t know why I get stopped a lot because I’m a real life Ginger. It’s almost as if they stop me so they can say, ” See, no racial profiling here!”

  32. On August 4th, 2010 at 10:46 pm Heidi Says:

    Hello! Hilarious. I just wrote a blog called “Diarrhea on a Plane” from “Snakes on a Plane” notion. HATE flying too. OH GOD. Funny. I have become a follower!

  33. On August 5th, 2010 at 11:53 am Neeroc Says:

    Too much honesty is sometimes a bad thing. I’m of polish/irish descent, so pretty vanilla, and my downfall seems to be telling them I was travelling from Ottawa to Raleigh by car (16 hrs straight yo) for a dog’s birthday party…and coming back two days later.
    Also a bad idea to fly to Phoenix for the weekend because ‘I want to see the Grand Canyon’
    You get bomb sniffed a lot when you travel on a whim.

  34. On August 5th, 2010 at 6:03 pm Shelli Says:

    My name is Michelle Miller and that name is on a terrorist watch list. I found this when I came back from Jamaica. Of course, the Michelle Miller that they were looking for was Mexican and I am as white as snow, so they believed me when I said I wasn’t her, so that’s good…

  35. On August 5th, 2010 at 9:25 pm Misty Says:

    OMG Aunt Becky, don’t ever forget to take down your Turbie Twist before heading off to the airport.

  36. On August 8th, 2010 at 7:05 am Gunfighter Says:

    Dude, I have TSA stories for you. Remind me to tell you about the time I got selected for extra screening because I was wearing a kilt. Remind me to tell you what happened when the screener told me to remove it!


  37. On November 16th, 2012 at 7:59 am Leslie Says:

    I LOVE your blog. You are my new hero. BTW, I am fair, freckled, dark blonde, green eyes, and have been searched, harassed, pulled aside, questioned, and even pulled into a back room in a third world country, and watched my luggage get a serious molesting (almost as thorough as the molesting I received). EVERY time I fly I get this. Meanwhile, my husband, who is traveling with me is left alone to watch the show. Not cool.

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