According to Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, the word random when used as a noun means: a haphazard course: without definite aim, direction, rule or method. When used as an adjective, it means: lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern. I decided to brush up on the definition because it seems whenever I fly I am the person who gets the “let’s see if you have touched explosives swab test.”

Thankfully I am TSA pre approved so I don’t take off my shoes or remove my 3-1-1 liquids from my personal carry on or even take my laptop out of my bag. I usually travel using my passport as my form of identification. My boarding pass is a hard copy as well as on my iPhone. I think I look like a seasoned traveler or at least someone who has done this security line thing before. I say hello or good morning or good afternoon and smile as I proceed through the line. I do what I am told. However more often than not a TSA agent will ask me to step to the side so he/she can swab my hands. And every time the TSA person comments “it’s random.”

I thought I must be confused by the true definition of random because this happens to me all the time thus why I reread the definition. Seriously at least one leg of every flight I have been on involves me being randomly picked for additional screening. I don’t remember much about probability from high school math but I don’t think it is possible for it to randomly be me that many times.

Don’t get me wrong I am grateful we have security screening but this whole random thing confuses me. By definition random makes it seem like there isn’t a plan and I would hope there is a plan. 🙂