Our mothers gave us warnings of troubles and difficulties we might encounter in life.  They also advised us how to avoid many of these problems.

Let me tell you of a can of worms I opened by adhering to one of my mother’s laws.  This is the rule of when using public rest rooms, you must cover the seat of the stool with toilet tissue.

This happened about thirty years ago but I will never forget what happened to me.  I was working for Amoco in its downtown Denver office.  Jean was teaching a few blocks away at the Emily Griffin Opportunity School.  I had a three o’clock appointment with my optometrist and friend, Dr. Dallas Hiatt.  Jean was going with me so I had to walk to her school and we would drive her car to the doctor’s office across from the current Cherry Creek Mall.

Before leaving the office I stopped in the restroom on my floor.  I locked the door of the stall, hung up my suit coat and unzipped my pants as I leaned over to unroll enough paper to cover both sides of the seat.  Out of my mouth came tumbling words that I did not know I knew.  There was no paper in the container.  While still bent over, I tried to zip up my pants in preparation to move to another stall.

The zipper came up about an inch and stuck.  My tie had become entangled in the zipper.  I certainly did not want to ruin my most beautiful and expensive tie.  I had worn it to impress Dr. Hiatt’s wife and receptionist, Charlotte.

I tugged and struggled very carefully and got my tie released unscathed but the zipper was broken at the bottom of it.  It would not budge.  Guess I should have bought a more expensive pair of pants that would have had a better zipper.  When I stood up and buttoned the one button at the waist, I saw that my pants were now gapping wide open.

I pulled myself together and made my plans on how to handle this.  I pulled the left side of my coat over the affected area and took the elevator to the street and stopped at Walgreens where I found small gold safety pins.  I had to buy a package of two hundred.  Then I strolled down the street to the school, holding the left side of my coat over the gaping fly of my pants.  At that time of my life I was a terribly modest guy.  I was fully covered but must have looked a bit strange.

I made it to the school and started climbing up the wide stairway to the third floor restroom.  Wouldn’t you know, one of Jean’s teacher friends stopped me in the middle of the stairs and began to talk.  She carried on and on like a trained parrot.  I was miserable holding my coat in that awkward position and I was already late in meeting Jean.

Eventually, I escaped and made it to the restroom.  I found an open stall where I could pull the pants together with the pins.  As I opened the package, it fell apart and all two hundred of the little devils scattered throughout the entire area.

I picked up a half a dozen of them, pinned three of them to the gapping area and placed three in my pocket in case they were needed.  One hundred and ninety-four were left on the floor.  I checked myself out in a large mirror.  I saw that there was now puckering as well as gapping.  If I was going to make my appointment I could not spend more time on my pants.  Jean said that I looked a little strange but that most people would not notice. We went on our way and arrived only a few minutes late.

At the doctor’s office, Charlotte saw my problem and laughed and kidded as only she can do.  Dallas was not aware of my problem since I was sitting in his exam room when he arrived. The examination was soon over and luckily I did not need new glasses.  At last, we were on our way home where I could change pants.

Again, I was wrong.  As we were going down University Boulevard, Jean spied a Mexican restaurant and requested that we stop there for an early dinner since there was nothing home for us to eat.  I said “No”.  She stared to whimper and said that everyone says that the food is great.  That meant that I had lost the argument.  I followed Jean into the crowded cafe, still holding the left side of my coat over the zipper area.  The food was great and we finally were on our way home where I could change.

No such luck.  As we approached the intersection of University and Belleview going down a slight decline, the car stalled.  There were no cars coming in either direction so I maneuvered the car around the corner west on Belleview and onto a grassy area where we left the locked car.  With modernization of these streets and the current congested traffic, this could not be done now.  The car refused to restart so we got out and started walking west.  Of course, I walked along the street holding the left side of my coat in front of me.  I was not going to have people passing by laugh at me.  We walked about a mile and a half to the home of our friend, Norma Morton.

Norma sympathized with our car problem but laughed hilariously at my plight.  She calmed down and drove us home.  There we took our second car and battery jumper cables back to the ailing auto.  Soon both cars were purring and we made it home to my lounging clothes and where I could relax at last.  It was a couple of days before my left shoulder felt normal.  The pants with the broken zipper ended up in the trash.

I still try to follow my mother’s warnings and I know that my life has been safer and more pleasant for doing so.  I am still very aware that I must be careful about my zipping and unzipping.



January 2013