My spouse loves to read biographies. She enjoyed the recent book by Laura Bush, “Spoken From The Heart.” So, today when Laura was at Fort Hood, for a book signing, we were invited by my daughter-in-law to go to the event with her family. It was quite an experience.
My son drove, and getting through the gate at Fort Hood was the first challenge. We were turned back and had to go to the Visitor’s Center for a pass. This required extensive questioning and documentation about the car and personal identification to obtain a permit. On reentering the gate everyone was required to present their drivers license but the kids were not interrogated at that point. We could have easily slipped a dwarf terrorist through this checkpoint.
When we got to the location of the signing, at the PX area, it was unbelievable. There was everything from secret service down through every grade of federal employee, checking and approving our passage. We went through large metal detectors and emptied our pockets on two occasions to gain entry. Our body was even scanned by a hand held detector. We had wrist identification bands attached and the books we were to have autographed were scanned. There were over 25 people involved in this process. It made airport security seem like a picnic. There were even people walking down the line to keep us against the wall. All these people were acting official, and were serious about their business, as if they were looking for Osama bin Laden or other known terrorist on the loose. Wow, all this to see Laura Bush.
Laura was behind a barricade surrounded by another covey of protective guards. With all this trouble I was expecting to get to see her in the nude or something else spectacular. I thought she might have at least danced or performed in some way. But no, we were whisk by her as she automatically signed the books in a flash, with a big fixed smile on her heavily made up face. She was perfectly dressed and polite but only allowed about 5 seconds contact. There was absolutely nothing personal, just a signature.
I’m not even sure it was Laura Bush that we saw. I think it may have been a mannequin that looked like Laura Bush. Anyway, our time of exposure from seeing her until the quick signing was about 15 seconds. I’m sure we were the only people, not associated with the military, who attended the signing. No one in their right mind is going to go through that much trouble to get through security, unless it is an actual terrorist who would have been successful. The only people they stop are idiots like our family.
My wife did enjoy the occasion and I mainly got my kicks out of being with the grandkids and just going through the ridiculous experience of getting on the army post to see a celebrity. Next time, however, I think I will just stay on the porch.