One of the things I love about retirement is picking my own projects. However lately several of them were at points where I was working hard and not getting off first base. Then we’ve been having a winter that would make a groundhog move to the southern hemisphere. I also noticed I was not alone; people on listservs were chewing madly on each other and people on the streets were giving each other those February looks of: “don’t even try to smile at me; just go away!”

Somebody on one of my listservs put out a call for funny stories about how sighted people try to help and sometimes there are unintended consequences. I answered the call with the following story:
I was going through the airport security in Minneapolis and the TSA gal who took charge of me loudly asked me what sex my guide dog was. There was a short pause while I thought about several answers but decided on just the facts and said “female”. She then blustered that they had to have a female search her because that was the law. I bit my tongue to not laugh in her face, but succeeded in just saying “okay”. No such law exists but she did what we all do sometimes when we don’t know what to do; we make it up and get loud and firm about it.

When I shared this story on the listserv, another person came back with this story: “My wife and I (both with guide dogs) were going through TSA security at the St. Louis airport. My wife and I were separated but she was close enough to hear what transpired. I was thankful for that as I figured nobody would believe my story.

Same deal though, this very gruff female asked what sex my guide dog was. I said male and then she shouted, “male pat down, I need a male pat down here.” I was stunned, actually.

Here came a very large TSA agent with a very bald head. As he got within hearing range I said, “My guide dog is male but he is neutered so no problem.” Instantly the TSA bald security guy turned beat red, to include his head. He grinned a huge grin and patted my dog on his head. Next words were to my dog from him, “I’m sorry you had that surgery but enjoy your travels.” Off we went with the big male TSA agent chuckling big time and I did hear the lady calling for a male TSA loudly exclaiming that she was just following the rules, males on males, females on females for pat downs.”

To give my mirth muscles more exercise, I asked Facebook friends for nominations of websites that had funny stories without pictures which my screen reader can’t describe. I got nominations for The Onion http://www.theonion.com with wonderful funny “news” stories some of which are even true and Pretty Good Jokes http://www.publicradio.org/applications/formbuilder/projects/joke_machine/joke_page.php with Garrison Keillor Joke Show kinds of jokes. If you can stop with just one, you’re stronger than I am!

Got any nominations for fun websites full of text not pictures?

Now for the commercial: a group of writers who are blind or low vision or who have a family member who is and who live in Wisconsin have started a blog: http://www.theoutlookfromhere.wordpress.com

Check it out! So far the stories are mostly earnest, but I’m betting the funny ones will come soon.

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