John Gibson, Marked Man

Do I look like a terrorist (search) to you? Does my name sound like a name a terrorist would use?

Let me explain:

There are a few downsides to being on television. One is that if you run into trouble in an airport — such as frustrations with baggage, or ticketing — you can't throw a hissy-fit, because everybody will stand around saying, "There's that guy on TV throwing his weight around like he's some sort of big shot."

And, if there is one thing everybody knows I am not... it's a big shot.

So I was on my well-behaved best behavior Monday morning when I was refused a boarding pass by the machine at the airport.

Go see the agent, the machine said. Well, we all know what that means: trouble.

So I go over there and the nice lady at American recognized me — so I knew I had to be nice back. You can't vent your frustrations on somebody whose fault it is definitely not.

She was helpful. She informed me that my name was on a terror watch list, all of a sudden, and could she please have my id.

Then she called a number and waited forever for somebody to answer and she said a few things and they said OK and I got my boarding pass.

Now, was this a one hit wonder? Or am I on a watch list forever?

Evidently my name is on the watch list until they find the John Gibson they are looking for, who — by the way — isn't me.

I think would-be terrorists could pick a better name, don't you?

But I have learned from my friend Geraldo Rivera that once on a watch list, you're on it forever. He's gone to Afghanistan a bunch and when the computer sees that, you're on the list permanently.

I called the TSA (search) hotline number they gave me. They're going to send me a form. I can fill it out and send it back. Then they'll see if there is some way that they can still look for the John Gibson bad guy and let John Gibson good guy — me — print his boarding pass at home.

Know what? I bet it doesn't work.

That's My Word.

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