Me and zippers go back a long way and it hasn’t always been a happy relationship.
Few things satisfy as much as a win against the odds.
And for the little man sailing into the wind up hill without a paddle in a leaky boat, those wins can be little and large at the same time.
As can the metaphors, similes and introduction to this probably less than ground-breaking but hopefully inspiring triumph – over a zipper.
That humble invention that sent the button-sewing profession into a tailspin at the turn of the 20th century.
Marketed at first as the “clasp locker” the zipper failed to take off until French designers applied them to men’s trousers in the 1930s as a revolutionary means of preventing Elvis junior from leaving the building.
Not that they had any idea who Elvis was in the 30s, nor Bill Gates, but even back then, it seemed no one liked Windows on their laptop.
Things went ballistic from there.
The humble zipper was eroticised to iconic status by the likes of Rita Hayworth, Marlon Brando, Aldus Huxley and the hippies who began unzipping anything they could get there hands on.
Leading eventually to my surfboard cover.
All this I found that out the other day in my quest to repair the broken zipper on said surfboard cover, which had been annoying me to the max for well over five years.
Before I continue, I have to explain that me and zippers go back a long way and it hasn’t always been a happy relationship.
Through struggles with double joined sleeping bags in cramped tents.
Windcheaters that just wouldn’t do up no matter how hard I wrenched.
And most notably that notorious childhood moment when a very personal part became otherwise engaged during what was supposed to have been a wee little wee.
Landmark moments of personal mutilation.
Toes stuck in spokes, splinters perforating feet, elbows and knees left on the road after signature skids come unstuck.
But this one really sticks out in the memory because there was an element of sticking out somewhere else.
And daring not to move, might I add, up or down, lest the zipper became mincer.
The pain was, even though I was too young to know the phrase at the time, eye watering.
A moment of not only great personal exposure, but also great personal horror as my childhood minder that day, Mrs Mills, emerged from the house with the solution to my dilemma.
A pair of scissors.
To be fair, I had been screaming hysterically and Mrs Mills probably thought action was going to solve this quicker than words.
What followed wasn’t so much a fresh take on the shower scene from Psycho, as more a revamp of modern micro circumcision?
Anyhow, we moved on. I was limping I’m pretty sure.
Subconsciously, I took a set against zippers from that moment on.
Fast forward several decades to my ageing surfboard cover zipper.
A source of much chagrin because not only did it flap outrageously on the roof racks every time I got the vehicle beyond ramming speed, it simply didn’t protect the surfboard.
Nor anything the surfboard bumped into.
Like the car boot. And when I left a 13cm scratch the other morning, I decided I was going to fix that sucker.
My first and generally only repair reflex is to buy a new whatever it isI’m trying to fix.
But at potentially $70 online for a surfboard cover, I said to myself, “Self, you’re too much of a tightarse to do that. Try YouTube.”
Where I discovered a disconcertingly large number of people marketing themselves as zipper gurus, thank god.
And when they broke it down, it seemed like zippers are a fixable thing, if you have the parts and some heart.
Make that part. There’s only one. The slider.
And all you have to do is get one, which proved reasonably difficult as Bunnings doesn’t stock them.
Game over, I thought. It mustn’t exit.
A dead language, it seemed, unless you talk to the good people at Spotlight who shone their expertise on their zipper aisle. (Who’d of thought?)
You couldn’t buy a slider, but you could buy 10cm of zip (for 35 cents no less) and then Frankenzip that onto your surfboard cover.
Which I achieved eighteen hours later in a groundbreaking moment of persistence.
I haven’t felt so fulfilled since I fixed the electric garage door with a fish hook.
And so a little victory. One which pales of course into achieving world peace, feeding the starving, and getting Donald Trump off your mind.
But one which hopefully inspires, like Roger Federer, to put the doubts aside, unzip the potential and slide on up the scale to relative greatness.