NPR logo Things Not to Do in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Things Not to Do in Minneapolis-St. Paul

It's the little things that make someone take notice of you. The way you wear your hat. The way you sip your tea. The way you tap your foot in a stall in the men's room of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The headline of the story I read at CNN.com was "Craig: I did nothing 'inappropriate' in airport bathroom." For me, the headline should have read: "Minneapolis Supercops Hip to Gay Sex Signals!" God, as Mies van der Rohe told us, is in the details. And the details of how Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) got popped for alleged lewd conduct are so arcane that even some of those TV CSI cops have gotta be going "what the huh" on this one. Craig was ID'd by police Sgt. Dave Karsnia, who was working undercover in the bathroom because, apparently, after the stress of going through security, airport bathrooms are a hot spot for a pre-flight happy ending. Oh, those Midwesterners.

Anywhooo...

According to the police report filed by Karsnia, Craig entered a stall next to his and blocked the door with a rolling suitcase. Karsnia's razor-sharpened "I know what those people are thinking" instincts told him that "individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall." To a lesser cop, such blockage might appear to be the result of the stall's 3-by-4 dimensions. But lesser cops end up writing parking tickets in Milwaukee, not working vice in an airport men's room. Karsnia adds that Craig "then tapped his right foot," a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct.

Note to anyone using a public toilet in Minneapolis: Turn off your iPod!

Craig did, in fact, engage in other damning behavior, such as "running his hand underneath the partition wall three times," which, in truth, does scream gay sex. But clearly the most damning indictment of Craig is, well, his damning indictment of himself. Craig pleaded guilty to the charges and paid about five bills in fines.

Now, I've got to tell you, I don't care about Craig's sex life, no matter what kind of encounter he may — may — have been looking for, as long as it was with a consenting adult. But pleading out to those charges on that scant evidence? I get maybe he was hoping this would all go away, but pleading guilty rather than fighting such a weak charge? He took his suitcase in the stall and tapped his foot? Was Craig vacationing on Mars during the O.J. trial?

In the dog days of summer, I guess Craig's misadventure in June does the job of salaciousness passed off as breaking news. To me, the bigger news is the supposition that was passed off as sleuthing.