Full disclosure: I am ‘Zipper Challenged.’I was diagnosed last week while on an Alaskan cruise.
Early symptoms of Zipper Challenge are evident from the bedroom when packing. Husbands scream, “Dear, do we need this much clothing?”
On the ship more symptoms appear: fits of anger when attempting to open multiple luggage zippers– some even coming from opposite ends!– followed by tossing matching luggage overboard from the Navigation Deck.
Shipboard physicians figure that when the travel industry promotes spending a week on an ocean cruise as ‘the perfect way to relax and unwind’, they assume that you aren’t bringing luggage with zippers.
Zipper Challenge is a recent phenomena.
Back when Noah built his arc everyone was allowed to board carrying two pieces of soft sided carryon luggage. Each suitcase included a handle and one zipper. That’s all.
Over the years progress set in. The suitcase manufacturers hired laid-off VCR designers– the guys who made a name for themselves by inventing the clock that continuously flashed ‘1200.’
The first thing they did was invent a suitcase with a collapsible handle. Extending the handle allows travellers to walk through an airport terminal dragging their luggage– which is still back in the parking garage!
Then they figured if one industrial strength, heavy duty zipper is good– seventeen zippers would be even better! They pitched this to the Bureau of Zippers- civil servants- who agreed. However, they had one proviso: to confuse travellers these zippers had to come from opposite directions on the same suitcase.
On cruise ships women go for luxurious spa treatments, attend ‘The Art of Towel Folding: Making Adorable Towel Creatures’ or sign up for origami classes to learn to fold pieces of paper into tulips.
Husbands attend ‘Making Sense of Your Zippers: A Comprehensive, Hands-On Interactive Demonstration on Mastering Modern Luggage Zippers.’ Participants are encouraged to bring a piece of their luggage to the seminar.
Jan and I have developed a carefully choreographed routine when we pack our three pieces of luggage so that we can pull the FOURTEEN zippers shut.
First, Jan clears a pathway from the cabin door to the suitcases positioned on the bed.
Then, over by the door, I calmly exhale and when Jan screams ‘GO!’ I run like a madman towards the bed. It is not a pretty sight because after a week on a cruise ship I have consumed enough food to feed a Caribbean nation. Actually I look like a Japanese sumo wrestler!
As I reach the edge of the bed I leap toward the suitcases– and if my judgement is correct– I successfully land (with my arms and legs spread) a bellyflop right on top of the suitcase. I make a loud grunting noise, sort of like the sound humpback whales make as they breach the water!
Immediately, Jan pounces on top of me! Together, we feverishly flail our arms doing spasmodic body movements like we’re Joe Cocker singing ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ as we close as many of the FOURTEEN zippers as we can!
This method usually works by the third attempt, or when the ship security staff smashes through your cabin door to see what all the commotion is about.
Full disclosure: next weeks Living Retired column is dependent on being discharged from the hospital where I am in traction from my luggage escapade.
Editor’s Notes: Gary Chalk is a Canadian humorist on a mission: ‘turn peoples wrinkles into laugh lines.’ His popular weekly column ‘Living Retired’– read by baby boomers and retirees throughout North America– transforms everyday mundane chores into wonderfully laugh out loud events! To read more of Gary’s antics visit www.LivingRetired.press.