Remember, she's 79.
My mother-in-law answered, "No. Why do you ask?"
The TSA agent responded: "Well, are you wearing anything else down there?"
Yes, "down there."
She said no, at which point, the friend with whom she was traveling, also a not-young volunteer library advocate, came over and asked if there was a problem.
The TSA agent said, again, in full voice, "There's an anomaly in the crotch area."
This is, of course, a painful post for me to write. Like most normal American men, I don't want to see the words "my mother-in-law" and "crotch area" in the same paragraph. But let me go on anyway.
My mother-in-law said, "As far as I know I don't have any anomalies in the crotch area."
The TSA agent told her she would have to go through the scanner again. She demurred, saying she didn't like the machine very much. The agent told her she could opt for a pat-down. My mother-in-law refused to be frisked, figuring, correctly, that "they were going to pat-down my crotch area. I mean, there wasn't an anomaly in the chest area."
So she went through the scanner again. Of course, this time -- one minute later -- the TSA found no "anomalies," and she was free to go.
The experience left her flummoxed, however. "What did they think I was, a lady underpants bomber?"
I asked her if she felt embarrassed by the manner in which the TSA treated her.
"I'm not embarrassed," she said. "I just think they're stupid and their machinery is defective and they should learn to whisper when they're talking about my crotch, or anyone's crotch."
The question is, How did it come to pass that the federal government takes official and invasive interest in the "crotch areas" of 79-year-old grandmothers? Have we just gone crazy?
UPDATE: I missed this crotch-related TSA story when it first came out earlier this week:
A freshman Republican from Texas says the TSA got a little too friendly during a recent pat-down in San Antonio -- leading to an exchange where the congressman and the TSA agent wanted each other arrested for assault.
Last week, a TSA agent at San Antonio International Airport patted down Francisco "Quico" Canseco, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee. The agent, Canseco told POLITICO, was so aggressive in his pat-down that Canseco ended up batting the agent's hand away.
"As he was moving up my leg, he moved his hand aggressively up to my crotch and he hurt me," Canseco said. "The natural reaction is when someone goes for your crotch and it hurts, you're going to pull back -- and my right arm came down and moved away his hand briskly."
That's when the agent stopped the whole process, Canseco said.
"As I moved his hand away, he claims, 'I've been assaulted, I've been assaulted,'" he said.
The agent then called the police over and asked them to arrest the lawmaker.
"I told him, 'Hey, I'm the guy who was assaulted,'" Canseco said.
It took 20 minutes for police to untangle the spat, but no charges were filed and no citations were issued.
But the story doesn't end there, Canseco said. Earlier this week, he was patted down again in San Antonio.