Do you know who David Smith is? He is 45, slightly portly and unkempt in the used-to-play-basketball-had-2-fat-ungrateful-kids-and-then-gave-up-on-life kind of way. He has that balding, comb over, leftover kitchen grease hair and he wears those big clunky cheap looking and costing plastic glasses. Also the ladies may want to note that he wears a uniform every day to work.
Still don't know David Smith?
If you are of Iranian origin at some point in your life, you will.
Let me introduce David Smith.
David Smith will be at the check-in booth. He'll wave you over, while saying: “next please”. He will then start looking at the ID you've taken out and handed him. Next he'll look at your ticket, look up at your face, back down to the ID which he is now holding as if it is a time-bomb, across to the computer screen which he'll tap a few times, back across to the now imminently exploding ID, up again to your face, down across to the computer, back up to your face, scratch of the head, lean over and whisper to a colleague, wave a supervisor over, start pointing at you with squinting eyes, then finally: “Mr. Seyed Gholam Mohammad-Reza Hasheminasab would you please accompany Mr. Johnson please?”
Yes when your parents blessed you with the name Gholam Mohammad-Reza Hasheminasab, they let you bathe in the glory of Allah's light. However the bathing can only happen after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's employees insert their thumbs in your rectum or the US Government's always friendly federal bureau take finger prints, DNA samples, bank statements and your 'Mohammad Ali Collection' lucky boxer shorts.
I myself am a fortunate one; I was born in England and a citizen no less. Born and kind of bred in Her Majesty's Empire and, hey, I've even met her. The name Nooriala is not even overtly Muslim sounding. I travel for work and pack like a business traveler. However, if there ever is an occasion that I have not had time to shave, well It's on that occasion that I seem to always get selected for the 'random search', which all tall, dark handsome stubble/beard-wearing foreign-looking terrorist types do.
So it is with this in mind that I offer my fellow Iranian travelers four helpful suggestions:
1) Always bathe and shave just before traveling. This applies as equally to the hairy Iranian men who shave five times a day and Iranian women who go through the daily Islamic ritual of cleansing 5 times: shave / wax / tweeze / thread / bleach.
2) Do not carry a Sultani Kabab in your hand-luggage back form Tehran. My cousin Reza did this and was duly stopped and his bag was searched. It was then that they opened up his hand-luggage and saw a 100cm thin cylindrical object wrapped in aluminum foil. Yes a famous Sultani in Nan. Try explaining that one…
3) Try to speak the native language of where you are traveling from/to and not Farsi loudly. If English is the language 'de jour', do not sing nursery rhymes to your children in the following fashion:
“Toovink-kel toovink-kel lee-tell ess-tar How I vander vat youuuu arrrre”
You will immediately be red-flagged and made to watch CNN for indoctrination.
4) Knowing that as an Iranian it will take you more time than others to get to the boarding stage, imagine the flight leaves 3 hours earlier than it is supposed to. This way you may actually arrive on time or, let us whisper this part 'be early'.
I remember in 1998 a flight I had form London to St Etienne for the Iran vs. Yugoslavia World Cup match. We arrived 1 minute before the doors closed and ran to our sold out plane, only to find it half-empty. It wasn't for a good 45 minutes to an hour till every Arash, Ali, Mohammad and of course Javad got on the plane smiling, bowing their heads saying “Bebakhshid”. (It is also important to note that during the flight all the vodka was sold out before the stewardesses got halfway down the isle.)
I leave you all with my best wishes and pray you have safe rectal-exam-free flights.