Best Place for an Awkward Pat Down and Discussion of Your Breath Mints

Security checkpoint, Cook County criminal courthouse

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I would advise you to avoid the criminal courthouse at 26th and California. If you can't, I'd at least suggest you avoid being one of the guys on trial. And as I've been forced to learn, when you show up, your time at the security checkpoint will be shorter and sweeter if you follow a few practical suggestions. Don't try to carry in an unmarked bottle of ibuprofen, as I unwittingly did. (I forgot it was in my jacket pocket, I swear.) Leave your rodeo belt buckle at home—as nice as it may look—like I didn't do. Remember to take your old sunglasses, your penknife, and your Altoids tin out of your pocket before you go through the metal detector. Also, it's a pretty good idea to leave the old roach clip in your car, as a friend was unfortunately reminded. Smile at the deputies staffing the metal detectors, though they probably won't smile back, even if you offer them an Altoid. By all means, try to get yourself a press pass, like a certain reporter we'll call Mick Dumke, who waltzes right in without a pat down. If all else fails, move to the 19th Ward and beg Sheriff Tom Dart to put you on the payroll so you can at least conduct the pat downs yourself.


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