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Classroom Wardrobe Malfunction


    I leave the house, trying to get to class on time. Because it’s Rochester, New York, it’s freezing, so I put on my wool coat. In slightly warmer weather, (which never seems to come) this coat has 3 buttons that provide enough barrier to keep me warm. However it is usually configured with its zip-in wool hood, that adds a wide zippered front closure to further buttress me from from frostbite. (Did I mention that it’s cold here?) As I’m pulling the zipper all the way to the top, the pull-tab snaps right off. I quickly try to reinsert the pull-tab, but it’s nubs are gone so it can't grip the slider (the part that moves up and down on the zipper teeth). If I delay any longer I’ll be late, so I leave and figure I’ll be able to unzip it when I get to class. 

    I end up getting to class a couple of minutes early and try earnestly to remove my coat. No can do. I ask the students if they have any suggestions and someone suggests a paperclip. I thanked her for the idea, but nobody seemed to have one and I can't find one in my backpack.

    Class starts and I still have my coat on. It’s warmer inside my classroom than it was out in the tundra. I start class, but can’t stop fiddling with my zipper. Now I'm gettting pretty hot. In despair, I decide to zip out the hood and remove it from the jacket. This I am able to accomplish. Much better.

    Now I’m no longer boiling, but now I look ridiculous, like I’m wearing a collar with a really wide leash. I try to pull the hood over my head, but it’s zipped up too high and the hole isn’t big enough for my head to fit through. I throw the front closure (the leash part) over my shoulder, like a tie that I want to keep out of my soup, and soldier on. The students think this is do I. Nevertheless, I manage to keep class going. All the while, we’re discussing hate speech.

    Class continues and we switch topics to obscenity. I start off with a quick video to frame the discussion. I sit down during the video and what do I see on my desk? A paperclip! I'm saved!...NOT!

    I insert the paperclip into the slider and give a tentative tug. No movement. Only resistance. I pull harder...nothing. I keep fiddling with it for the rest of class, worried that I’ll be trapped forever in this woolen collar. Class manages to proceed relatively normally with our usual thought-provoking discussions, so I guess the students aren’t too distracted by the spectacle of their ensnared professor.

    Class ends. I go home and and proceed to get the pliers. I try one last time with the paperclip and the zipper comes right down. Free at last!


    On the bright side, at least my fly wasn’t down.

    Have you ever suffered a classroom wardrobe malfunction?


1 comment
  • Robert Vann
    Robert Vann No! It' doesn't get that cold in Southeast Texas!
    June 2, 2014