Monday, March 07, 2011

Lessons Learned

Life is a very good teacher. I’ve talked about the lessons I’ve learned in past columns but it seems we’re never too old to learn — especially me.

Let me start at the beginning. When I first started writing a weekly column in the Mountain Eagle, people would come up to me on occasion to say they read my column. I’ve always been flattered by this gesture.

These days, as my work appears in more and more publications, it has become very common for people to approach Jilda and me when we’re in restaurants and grocery stores to say that they read my work.

Since I often talk about Jilda in my writings, people recognize her when we’re out together.

Recently a woman said to Jilda, “it must be fun living with Rick!” I’m a little surprised that Jilda didn’t roll her eyes, but she simply smiled and said, “he’s a lot more amusing in print than he is at home.”

Then a few weeks ago I ran down to Walmart to pick up a few things while Jilda was working.

As I walked around the store, I saw a couple from a distance looking in my direction and smiling. I thought to myself, these are people who recognized me from the paper.

I smiled, nodded my head in acknowledgement, and finished up with the shopping. The things I needed took me all over the store.

After I loaded my stuff in the truck and got in to drive away, I noticed my pants were unzipped.

I sat there for a long moment and then I remembered the couple on aisle 12 smiling and looking at me.

In my mind, I was trying to figure out if they were smiling because they recognized me as the guy who writes for the paper, or were they smiling and saying to themselves; “Look at that guy prancing around Wal-Mart with his pants unzipped!”

Or, worse yet! “Look, there’s Rick Watson, the guy writes for the paper, prancing around Wal-Mart with his pants unzipped!”

For the record I was NOT prancing, but I think you get the picture? Even though I was sitting alone in my truck, my face started a slow blush that originated somewhere around my socks.

I debated on whether I should go back into Wal-Mart and try to find the couple to apologize, but it occurred to me that the whole store could have seen me traipsing around the store.

If my first blush wasn’t thorough enough, my brain threw up a fresh coat of crimson for good measure. When I looked in the mirror, it looked like I was sunburned.

When Jilda got home I told her the story and she laughed so hard she spewed ice tea on the coffee table. I have a feeling the next time one of those women makes a comment about how much fun it is living with me, she’ll tell them this story.

Since this episode, I’ve been so paranoid that I’m tempted to only wear pants with elastic waist bands and no zippers.

I’m here to tell you that whenever you get too cocky, life will bring you down a peg or two. When it comes to zippers, I’ve learned my lesson.....ALWAYS CHECK THEM!


  1. hahhhhahhahh!!! OH SO TRUE! And what a great post and lesson!
    Something very similar to this happened to me once, except no zippers, just falling down a set of stairs was involved. A very humbling moment to be sure!

    Great blog. Came through Musings and glad I did. It's a good thing to remember....this lesson:)

  2. That is funny. Lots of guys, in my experience, will not notice their zippers are down. I always mention it to them quietly. I would never laugh at them or make a joke to another about them.

    You need to believe that most people don't notice this. For those who do and don't tell you quietly, you need to question their character!

  3. Very nice story !!!
    Have a nice day Rick !

  4. A delightful post, and lucky you, being recognized, even if it is occasionally for perhaps the wrong reasons. And thank you so much for joining me. Oh! iced tea... sigh... lovely memories of the times I stay with my friends in Atlanta. Needless to say it is freezing here. Carole.

  5. LOL!! What a great and funny post! :D
    And I loved the lesson! Things like that always happen to me--whether I was or wasn't cocky! :D

  6. This one made me smile first, giggle a little then, and laugh outright by the time I finished reading it... Great post!! :) :)

  7. Oh, how funny. I'm sure we have all embarrassed ourselves in one way or another. My husband is quick with the joke and when we are out there's a lot of laughing. One day someone said the same to me, how it must be so much fun to live with him. Yeah, I told her deadpan, it's a laugh riot. It can get tiresome when you're trying to have a conversation and he turns it into a series of one liners.

  8. Now that is funny Rick. It happens to the best of us and if you can't laugh at it it's a shame (in general-not you). Hahaha, would have loved to seen Jilda's face and the ice tea spew.

  9. I'm glad I'd swallowed the coffee. Otherwise I would've ruined my keyboard. I laughed out loud, for real. Hilarious story - and one with a good moral, too.

  10. Being short I would have notice but being old I would have said "zip it up fellow" to save you anymore embarrassment.

  11. I wandered around my childrens' high school one evening with my pants unzipped, one night too soon for Parents' Night. I found out about the zipper after I had left. I wonder how many of the students noticed. At least it didn't come back to me from my children, who would have been horrified to hear about their "stupid father."

  12. A) I like Jilda.
    B) Life keeps us humble.
    C) Great post...any post where someone spews something is a good one.

  13. Ken Owens1:18 PM

    Ah Ranger Rick, the hazards of becoming a celebrity. I guess you didn't have your IPhone with you since you didn't post a photo with this post. I don't mean one of your fly. I mean one of your face afterwards while you were pondering the event in you pickup.
    As an after thought, having an unzipped fly is usually better than having an unzipped lip.

  14. It has happened to all of us, I am sitting here lauging at your story and the comments!

    Just hope you didn't end up on that website, "People at Walmart". Oh my goodness, the sights out there!

  15. I'm really laughing, not at you, but with I just read Jilda's blog post about being invisible..just sayin! But that sort of thing happens to everyone..usually it's a button on a blouse for me! Once my Sis and I were at a mall watching a puppet show with our kiddos..the puppeteer was dancing around with the puppet and we were sitting at eye level..yep, his zipper was down and our eyes were up...Oh well, such is life!

  16. I think the lesson was perspective not humility Rick! LOL!

  17. Thanks all for the comments. A friend of mine called yesterday (disguising his voice) and said he'd just posted a picture of me on the website THE THINGS YOU SEE AT WALMART.
    I had to smile.

  18. Oh, wow. That was a fun read.

    You go, Jilda! "he's more amusing in print than he is at home..." :D

    Sorry about laughing about your unfortunate experience, but you are right, it seems life has a way of balancing our ego with reality. ;)


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