Last week I went to St. Petersburg Florida for a conference. It was my first flight after being deemed by the federal government as posing no significant risk to the general population of travelers, flight attendants, and pilots. In other words, I finally got TSA Pre-Check. Some might argue that my books are a risk to people who fly and read at the same time, but I think I’m fully covered by a bit of fine print written in the front, back, or spine of said works. 

To get TSA Pre-Check, I had to fill out an online form and then go for an in-person interview. I was really worried about that. I had rehearsed answers to all sorts of acts of depravity I may or may not have committed in my college days (thank heaven there was no social media in the 80s). But all that worry was for naught. In fact, they pretty much asked me questions that I’m sure any simple background check could have answered. 

I was actually disappointed the interviewer didn’t ask me where the dolphin sculpture that went missing from the fountain at Indiana University when they won the 1987 NCAA Championship is currently located? And was I, or was I not, riding it when it was removed? I had come up with a very plausible response that I hoped would seem believable to an entry-level representative of the Federal Government and/or their immediate supervisor should the case get escalated. 

But escalation didn’t occur and my interview (which took place at a Staples location) was over in less than seven minutes. So, now I’m free to keep my shoes on in airports and my wife (who’s had Pre Check for years) will be reminding me “I told you it’s faster” for the foreseeable future. 

Meanwhile, back in St. Petersburg, we arrived on the lateish side of the evening and made our way to our room at the hotel. Upon using the bathroom, we discovered the toilet didn’t flush. Now, I know hotels are no longer cleaning rooms on a daily basis, but I felt that this conservation thing had gone too far. 

I was going to be in this hotel with my wife for four days and there were things I was going to leave in that toilet that I didn’t want to have hanging about if you get my drift. So, we went back down to the front desk and spoke to Alex. 

Alex is a young man, new to the hotel industry, but wise beyond his years. When I told him that I was going to need a toilet that flushed, he took one look at me and agreed that everyone involved would be better off if I had plumbing that could send things on their way. 

And if the environment was somehow diminished in some way, I told him he could pass my contact info to Greta Thunberg and she could send me a strongly written letter (or email, TikTok, or the scolding medium of her choosing). 

At this point, he confessed that he had no idea who she was and this was not some conservation policy. I just had a broken toilet. He then looked at my wife with that look that says, “how do put up with him” and offered to upgrade us to a better room with a view.

For the next four days, toilets flushed, I conferred at the conference, and my wife enjoyed the view. All was great until I got back home. Alex may not have known who Greta was, but somebody was listening. Waiting for me was a message: 

“I know all about the dolphin.” ~GT

Carry on, Citizens!