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How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

Our survey says: whuh-waah

Something for the Weekend, Sir? I am in a long, slow-moving queue of anxious passengers trudging through airport security like chained natives thrown into the lava pit by Ursula Andress giving a “lesson in obedience”. I remove all items from my trouser pockets and put them in my coat pockets. I take off my coat and put it in a plastic tray. My laptop goes in another plastic tray. I reach for a third, nearly severing three fingers between trays that have been flung viciously down the rollers by a chuckling security woman.

My contact lens liquids go in a self-seal plastic bag that won’t seal. Off comes my watch. Off comes my wedding ring. Off come my glasses. Off comes my belt. Off come my shoes.

Passengers are pushing from behind as I stagger across the filthy floor in socks while holding up my trousers with bleeding fingers towards the machine that goes “bleep”.


I am forced to stand akimbo with my arms outstretched while a man physically molests me in plain sight. Only the akimbo stance is preventing my trousers falling down, so my Personal Molester has a good rummage around inside each pocket to ensure that they have been pushed down sufficiently to reveal my arse crack to all and sundry.

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As usual, nothing is found and no-one seems to care that the machine went “bleep” when I walked through it. The machine is not designed to detect things. It is simply designed to go “bleep”.

A security man tells me to hurry up and collect my things as he thrusts the plastic crate holding my laptop down the rollers so that it slams into the metal buffers at the end with a crash, followed by my other possessions. One crate spills onto the floor. I grab what I can, still trying to keep my trousers held up with one hand, and eventually retrieve my wedding ring by crawling under the X-ray machine.

Everything back in its place, I stride towards the exit, still trying to thread my belt, and I am accosted by a smiling man who invites me to press a button.

I look down and see what appears to be an infant’s electronic toy featuring four large buttons marked with cartoon faces representing a concise range of human emotions: Happy, Expressionless, Unhappy and Pissed Off. Above it is a legend: “How was your experience of airport security today?”

I punch Pissed Off in his little fucking plastic face and storm off but I am called back by the smiling man. He wants to know what I am unhappy with.

“All of it,” I tell him, “the whole bloody thing, the very fact I have to go through this unpleasant and humiliating ritual.”

But everyone has to pass through security, he says, it’s the law and it’s for my benefit.

“This much I agree,” I agree. “But after being forced to undress in a public space, watch strangers chuck your possessions around like tin cans, and have someone try and shove their finger up your rectum under the guise of checking for inside pockets (in jeans?), then be shouted at and finally kicked out, half-dressed, bleeding and missing my wedding ring … after all this … I am expected to walk up to your stupid, childish, insult of a dipshit, fuckwit little cunting customer response gadget and press the Happy face?”

The man is no longer smiling. In fact, he is starting to look like Pissed Off. But just as I walk away in triumph, another limping, harassed, half-dressed passenger staggers by and presses Happy.

This explains a lot about survey results.

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