FLINT - Recently, at the Ingham County Courthouse in Lansing I got a reminder of two things - how difficult my life is and how dumb we are as a society. That's a lot to fit into any day.
We were in Lansing because my son, Sam, is part of a mock trial team that advanced to the state finals. If you're not familiar, a mock trial is where high school kids from different schools argue a made up case in a real courtroom with real lawyers acting as judges.
To get into the courthouse you have to go through a security checkpoint, which has an airport style X-ray machine and metal detector. The lovely yet formidable Marcia, who likes to tell people that I exaggerate stories about her, was ahead of me in a line that stretched out the door.
This was a Saturday morning, by the way, and the courthouse was empty except for teenagers pretending to be lawyers, lawyers pretending to be judges and excited parents. It wasn't exactly the kind of morning terrorists, lunatics or mad bombers would strike. Blonds are another story.
Marcia placed her purse on the conveyer and stepped through the detector.
Guard (looking at screen): "Ma'am, do you have nail clippers in your purse?"
Marcia: "I don't know, probably."
Guard: "You're gonna have to get rid of them."
Marcia: "What for?"
Guard: "Security, ma'am."
Marcia: "You can't take nail clippers from a woman. What if I snag a nail and ruin my nylons?" For the record, she wasn't wearing nylons, not that I mentioned that at the time. I have to live with her. By this time, the backed up line of teens was beginning to watch with interest.
Guard: "Sorry, that's the rule."
Marcia (pawing through her purse looking for the clippers, which were eluding her): "Fine, I'll give them to you to throw out."
Guard: "No, you'll have to take them outside and throw them away yourself."
Guard (a bit too brusquely): "Because that's the rule."
Marcia (still searching for clippers): "It doesn't even have a file!"
Guard (mildly exasperated): "Why don't you just let your husband take your whole purse back to your car?"
Marcia (laughing): "Because I have my tampons in there, all right? And I may need them, if you know what I mean."
The guard, who was a young guy, turned beet red, Marcia walked out the door with the offending clippers, which she'd finally found, and one of the female teen lawyers said, "She's a hero to all women!"
I felt like telling him, "Buddy, that wouldn't have happened if we'd stop overdoing security in this country or at least apply some common sense. A mom with nail clippers isn't exactly going to run amok and clip anyone to death, for Pete's sake."
I also could have said, "Now you know what I deal with on a daily basis. Two pieces of advice: Never marry a smart alecky blond. And never try to separate a woman from her purse, particularly at certain times of the month."
But I didn't. He was having a hard enough day.
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.