A debate could be had for hours about what's the most important and life-changing invention. Most people would choose something high-tech and they might be correct. The internet has been absolutely life-changing for everyone across the globe.
But I've always thought the modern day toilet should be at the very top or at least in the top ten. For obvious reasons.
Another nice invention is the zipper, but it's not on most lists. However, at the Listverse website it ranks fifth as the most common "everyday" invention with toilet paper coming in at No. 1. The zipper came into vogue in the 1890s and eventually replaced button technology in the 1920s. Zipper technology is obviously an improvement over button technology, especially for those clothing items for which an easy and rapid access is desired -- as for example, on the fly on men's pants.
However, the common zipper is not without its dangers.
Which brings me to the title -- ZIRPI. It sounds like a foreign word but it's actually an acronym for zipper-related penis injury. This is true. It's amazing the number of acronyms they have for almost everything.
If after reading the above sentence you cracked a smile or chuckled you're probably not alone, especially if you're a woman. Over the years I've never met a woman who's heard a joke about a man's privates that hasn't ever thought it to be hilarious -- even if it's a bad joke or is told badly. There's something about the thing most symbolic for manhood that when taken to task is found to be very funny. In some cases even breathtaking.
But it's no laughing matter for the 2000 men each year who are unfortunate to find Little Johnny stuck within the teeth of an unrelenting zipper. In a 2013 study it was shown that an estimated 17,616 patients presented to emergency departments with ZIRPI in the U.S. between 2002 and 2010. So if you the gentle reader have ever experienced such an injury know that there's no need to be embarrassed because this type of injury is not that unique.
You've heard it said that haste makes waste, but in this case it can also make for surgery. Most of these cases can be treated non-surgically. But there are those that require emergency circumcision and surgery.
How can this ever happen you may ask. Well, you'd probably have to have one to understand.
Anyway, I thought it might be a good idea to make aware to some unsuspecting guy living in the fast lane, perhaps chasing fast women, too much in a hurry to not notice important matters, that having read this and being more aware might slow down a bit when tending to Johnny and save himself some grief.
Zipper injuries are the most common cause of penile injury among men but overall they are only a close second to toilet seat injuries among little boys. The main risk factors for ZIRPI is being uncircumcised or insufficiently circumcised. One might think that going "commando" (no underwear) might be a risk factor but it turns out not to be so. Presumably, such men are more careful zipping their fly. (Duh!)
Treatment consists of lubricating the entrapped skin or by cutting either the zipper slider or teeth. A backup procedure involves "popping" the inner and outer faceplates of the slider by inserting a small screwdriver from the side and twisting it 90 degrees. But in some cases an emergency circumcision may be necessary to liberate the little victim. However, most cases of ZIRPI involve uncircumcised men and do not involve a vital part of Johnson's anatomy. In most cases a urologic consultation and anesthesia is the best option.
Harkening back some years ago to the lady plaintiff who was awarded a multimillion-dollar settlement after she spilled hot coffee on her lap at a restaurant drive-through, one could make the argument that both pants manufacturers and coffee vendors should be liable for injures caused when people injure themselves using a zipper or spilling hot coffee. Why shouldn't the ZIRPI victim be compensated like the hot coffee lady's injury? Both are product liability issues, if we are intellectually honest. Moreover, pants do not absolutely need a zipper. Buttons on pants were used for centuries until the early 20th century.
But don't hold your breath on collecting a settlement on a ZIRPI. Most people consider it bad public policy to sue for product liability when the liability is caused by either stupidity, lack of attention, or no common sense.
Besides, the zipper's not going anywhere. Its success is in its ability to expose the penis rapidly for important functions, including urination. So that means the zipper will be around till the Second Coming. In fact, the most successful advocate for the zipper is Tadao Yoshida, the Japanese businessman who started the company YKK, a zipper-manufacturing company that drove out its competitors after WW II and as a result now makes most of the zippers in the universe (as they make them for NASA). So pervasive are they that if you are wearing a zippered item as you read this it is almost a certainty that your zipper slider handle bears a YKK imprint.
Meantime, the potential for getting a ZIRPI is just cause for slowing things down a little bit. Not paying attention gets people in trouble and maybe expense. This is just another reason (maybe the most important if not the funniest) to pay attention to what you're doing when you finish whatever it is you're doing.