Here it is, half-past 2 pm on a workday and my fly is ALL the way down. Again. I can’t even remember the last time I went to the bathroom here at the office, but it was definitely before lunch. I can, however, remember the last time this happened.
And definitely a time or two last week, too. It happens to the best of us, but still. At least twice a week since I started this job, I’ve looked down midway through the afternoon to see the zipper on my suit pants gaping open like a grey and hungry Venus Flytrap.
I have absolutely no explanation for this. I’ve been zipping up my pants for thirty-some years now, so it’s not likely that I’ve started forgetting that particular task. I’m not sure that it’s the pants, either. Honestly, I don’t know what it is. I’ve got two suits, one grey and one black — one for laundry days and Fridays, one for the other times — and zipper lightning strikes them both right in the crotch without honor or pity.
Still, it could be worse.
I was in the cafeteria yesterday assembling my lunch at the salad bar when I switched directions unexpectedly, mistaking tofu for chicken cubes and fixing it when I bumped into a woman in line behind me. I’d guess she was just past her first promotion in the marketing department for one of my company’s cooler media properties. She wore brilliant white pants, pants that perfectly matched two rows of blinding shiny Chiclets in her smile.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “It’s okay, don’t worry about it,” she said. “I made the same mistake yesterday. Enjoy your lunch!” she said, smiling, and turned to walk away, stopping to wave at some friends on her way to the elevators.
When she turned, I saw the copper-colored streak creeping up the back of her perfect white pants. It spread slowly, a Rorshach blot that every lady reads as her worst nightmare.
I was able to grab her just before she got on the elevator. “Uh, I think you’ve sat in something,” I said. “It’s urgent.”
She blushed and said “Oh God. Thank you so much,” backed her way onto the elevator and vanished. Then I noticed my zipper, right as a crowd of people came around the corner.
That’s how it goes. You think you’re so cool, so put together with your unassailable public armor on. Then it turns out you’re the king of a crumbled castle and everyone knows it but you.
There’s this guy in my neighborhood. He’s an older guy, maybe in his sixties — always dressed sharp in creased slacks, a guyabera and a fedora. He stands as tall as his posture will allow. Age is creeping in, but he’s ramrod-straight, always looks you in the eye when he says “hello.” And he always says “hello.” He’s got a really, really large fatty tumour on the side of his face.
Like this, but much bigger. I’d say the side of his face is at least a C-cup. But there he is, walking upright, looking people in the eye, taking that walk all the same.
We’ve all got flaws. Big ones, most of us. They’re like scars for the soul, the spirals that give our personalities their fingerprints. So what’s better, really … primping and preening up a big lie about how slick you are and having everyone else see the truth? Or just getting that tumour out in the sunshine and tanning that thing until you’re laughing in your coffin?
My fly’s still down, and it’s staying down. And when I get bored I’m going to feed that hungry flytrap bits of burger meat, just to see what happens.