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Tucker Max, The time I got arrested at O'Hare
The time I got arrested at O'Hare 
by: Tucker Max

Tucker Max Home / Vices ChannelEntertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Want to read more of Tucker Max's tales of belligerence & debauchery? Visit!


It is the last day of my freshman year in college, and my dorm is having a huge party.

Well, sort of. About 10 of us, pretty much the only ones left after finals, are getting really drunk because we are all leaving for the summer the next day, and we want to drink all the alcohol we have left from the previous year. Like most college dorms, the liquor that is left at the end of the year is an odd menagerie of the drinkable, the tolerable and the barely even potable. We started by drinking normal drinks; Absolut and cranberry, for instance. We ended up finishing with unspeakable concoctions; Triple Sec and E & J, for example.

So of course the night becomes one of inebriated debauchery, replete with everything that happens when 18, 19 and 20 year olds get drunk: people throw up, furniture is broken, food is thrown everywhere, more people throw up, urination occurs in inappropriate places, people hook with up someone they would hardly talk to if sober, etc., etc. By the time we were finished, our dorm looked like a tornado had blown through a Wal-Mart.

At about 4am, I decide that there is no reason for me to sleep, because I have a 2pm flight out of O’Hare. So I continue to drink, with reckless abandon, and continue to break things, throw food, yell obscenities at people, and pee in inappropriate places. You know, the standard Tucker Max drunk act. At about 7am, after everyone else is either passed out or knocked out, I decide to head for the airport, figuring I’ll sober up there.

I make it to O’Hare Airport at 8am. The airport is just beginning to come alive, and the ridiculously long lines for everything at O’Hare won’t begin for another hour or so. Having an electronic ticket, I check three bags at the curb, and proceed directly to security. My body is craving coffee and food. I get to the check point, place my back pack and my carry-on on the conveyor belt, and walk through the metal detector.

I stand there, drunker than Robert Downey Jr., waiting for my bags to come out, not noticing that they conveyor belt had stopped, and that the $4.75 an hour rent-a-cops were all frantically running around tripping all over themselves. I was occupied staring at this really hot girl who was walking by, trying to think of a way to get her attention. Little did I know.

As I was contemplating how to approach said cutie, I felt the first of what would be many violent blows to my skull. A large, angry Chicago Policeman had given me a forearm shiver from behind, and was on top of me, beating me like I was Rodney King. As if this force wasn’t enough to restrain a drunk 170-pound college freshman, three to five other CPD joined in the fun, all of them venting every bit of frustration they had in the world upon my drunk, prostrate body. Then the group of them picked me up and began dragging me through this maze of doors and tunnels leading into the bowels of O’Hare airport.

It was at that point I started to cry.

You have to remember, in a matter of eight seconds, I went from drunk, erotic fantasies of me doing naughty things with that hot girl, to having my head driven into a marble floor and the shit kicked out of me in front of hundreds of people. For no reason I could discern. So I start bawling. I am crying like Jimmy Swaggert. It was a complete joke. I was screaming, yelling, crying, everything.

The only thing I can think of, being drunk and not yet 21, is that I had a bottle of half-full Ron Llave rum in my backpack (don’t ask me what I was going to do with it). So I start yelling, “It’s just rum!! It’s just rum!! For the love of god, why are you doing this??” I was scared shitless, bleeding, in serious pain, with no idea what the fuck was going on.

Ignoring my lamentations, the cops took me to this holding cell somewhere in the bowels of O’Hare airport. They put me into what amounted to a broom closet with bars, and told me to shut up. Of course, that advice didn’t work. The adrenaline had at this point kicked my drunkenness, and I was pissed. Why the fuck was this happening? I screaming like a banshee, when one of the cops finally told me why I had been detained -- I HAD A PISTOL IN MY BACKPACK!

At that point, had I not been bleeding and in a jail, I would have laughed until I wet my pants. Here’s the deal: Two months earlier, I was helping a friend of mine clean out his basement, and we found a starter pistol. It looked, felt and weighed the same as any other .38, except that it only shot blanks. He gave it to me, and I stuck in one of the numerous mini-compartments on my backpack, and never thought about it again, until that day.

As I am contemplating the delicious ironies of life, they bring in my luggage, and begin to go through it like starving dogs looking for meat. They proceed to unpack and hurl everything I brought, until much of the floor of this quasi-holding pen was filled with my clothes.

So I begin to cry. Again. A few minutes later I stop. I start to yell, again as if I were on fire.

At this point, they begin to put things together. I am a white, 18-year-old college student, with nothing except a starter pistol in his backpack, who has broken down in tears twice since he was apprehended. Does this sound like a standard terrorist profile to you?

They interviewed me three times in the next four hours, each time asking me the most moronic questions imaginable. “Are you a terrorist?” “Who else were you working for?” “Are any of your relatives Arab?” I’m serious. About noon, after I had spent much of the previous four hours crying, yelling, sobbing and even fainting once (I maintain it was from low blood sugar), they realized what had happened. So they told me I could go.

Of course, this was before I saw that all my clothes were still on the floor, and I was the one who got to pick them up, and repack them. And the kicker: as I left the room, one of the cops HANDED ME THE STARTER PISTOL! He said, “Here, we can’t keep this; you take it.” So I had to go pack it in a separate box and check it through to my final destination. They wouldn’t even let me throw it away.


I’ve gathered from people well-versed in airport security since that time that these “police” violated several FAA rules when they let me go. Supposedly, I am required to be booked and arraigned, etc, etc. You have to remember, this was LONG before 9-11. I think maybe my tears may have gotten the best of procedure in this case.

Whatever the case, I ended up making my flight.

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