Flyfeelitis (flī– fēl -īdəs): the overwhelming urge to touch one’s zipper to ensure that it is in the up position. The origin of this disease can be traced back to the inclusion of the first zipper in men’s pants however, not all men who wear pants suffer from this disease. Researchers hypothesize that those who suffer from this disease acquired it during a traumatic incident involving the individual being discovered in a public setting with their fly undone. This disease is habitual and although annoying and difficult to cure, it can contribute to avoiding further incidents in which the sufferer is caught with his zipper down.
I am a Flyfeelitis sufferer.
It may be habitual but I can conceal my uncontrollable urge to ensure my zipper has been properly zipped. A quick turn to look in my vehicle as if to check for some forgotten item allows me to hide my zipper check. The walk from my seat to the pulpit allows me to discretely move my Bible over the zipper part of my pants disguising my other hand as it quickly checks my fly to make sure that my underwear remains completely hidden under what I wear. I can use sleight of hand by distracting those around me with the more obvious move of grabbing my belt and pulling up my pants. They have no idea that at that very moment I am actually feeling to ensure my zipper is in the up position.
There are many more moves that I have perfected.
There is a reason I need so many moves. This habit forming sickness known as Flyfeelitis is not done once a day or even once an outing. The fear of being caught with my zipper down can cause numerous fly checks over short periods of time. It hasn’t gotten any better with age. In the past I would check once but now I forget that I checked so I check again. Then I wonder if I checked and even though I am pretty sure I not only did up my zipper the last time I had it down but that I have since checked it more than once, I check it again.
I remember the day I contracted Flyfeelitis.
I was at camp as a leader. Because there were more girls than boys my wife and I had all girls on our team. It was my job to give instructions during a particular team meeting. During my short speech the girls began to point and giggle.
I did my best to ignore them but their gestures became far too distracting. Finally I figured I would bring their attention back to me by jokingly saying, “what, is my zipper down?” Like a well-rehearsed dance team the entire group nodded “yes” in unison.
As embarrassing as that was, the outcome led to a crippling fear that in turn led to a habitual action which has guaranteed that 99.5% of the time this will not happen again.
If I am this worried about my zipper being open at the wrong time…
…why am I not more worried about my mouth being open at the wrong time? If one embarrassing zipper incident can lead to a lifetime of checking to make sure it doesn’t happen again, why haven’t my numerous embarrassing and hurtful talking incidents led to a lifetime of checking to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
Why am I more embarrassed when my underwear is showing than when my hurtful and destructive thoughts are showing?
Truth or lie, compliment or insult, bragging or self-deprecation, instructive or misleading; all of what we say has an effect on those we say it to. The words we choose to speak or the silence we decide to maintain expose who we are. Often we have not thought through what we say or even thought about not saying anything at all. We are convinced of our own ability to respond in a manner that will suit the situation. We are convinced our “zipper is always up” so why check.
Until we are willing to check we run the risk of being caught with our zipper open.
Just like there are proper places to have a zipper open (the restroom or when changing clothes are the only ones I can come up with) there are proper times to have our mouths open. In both cases there are more times that we should have it zipped than there are times we should have it unzipped.
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. Proverbs 21:23 (NIV)
If I am willing to make sure my zipper is closed when it should be I should be willing to do the same with my mouth.