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Home --> Risqué Business --> Mistaken Identities --> The Unzipped Mechanic

The Unzipped Mechanic

Legend:   A wife returns home from shopping and spots a pair of legs sticking out from under the car in their driveway. Thinking that her husband is working on the car again, she playfully bends down and pulls down his pants zipper before cheerfully strolling into the house. As she walks through living room, she spots her husband sitting in a chair watching TV. Startled, she asks her husband who is under the car; when her husband informs her that it's his mechanic, she faints.

Examples:

[Collected by Brunvand, 1969]

The lady came home from the grocery store, and she saw her husband working under the car. All that was exposed were his legs, so in passing she reached down, unzipped his zipper, chuckled to herself, and went into the house. Immediately she saw her husband sitting in the easy chair reading the newspaper. She cried, "Who is THAT under the car?" and her husband replied, "My mechanic." She told her husband what she'd done, and they went outside to find the mechanic lying unconscious, in a pool of blood, because when the lady unzipped his pants he was so startled he sat up and clobbered his head under the car.
 

[Collected on the Internet, 2001]

Be Cartoon of the legend careful what you wear (or don't wear) when working under your vehicle especially in public. From the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, comes this story of a central west couple who drove their car to K-Mart only to have their car break down in the parking lot. The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car there in the lot. The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis. Although the man was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned private parts into glaringly public ones. Unable to stand the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand up his shorts and tucked everything back into place. On regaining her feet, she looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband who was standing idly by. The mechanic, however, had to have three stitches in his head.
 

[Collected on the Internet, 2004]

From the Northwest Floida Daily News comes this story of a Crestview couple who drove their car to Wal-Mart, only to have their car break down in the parking lot. The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car in the lot. The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection, she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis. Although the man was in shorts, his lack of underpants turned private parts into glaringly public ones. Unable to stand the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand up his shorts, and tucked every thing back into place. When she got back on her feet, she looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband who was standing idly by. The mechanic, however, had to be treated by the paramedics and received three stitches in his forehead.

Variations:   Some versions of the legend feature a plumber working under a sink in place of the auto mechanic under the car. When the wife unzips the plumber's pants, he sits up and hits his head on the pipes, knocking himself cold.

Origins:   Some readers recall having heard this legend as far back as the late 1950s,
a variation on a common theme of a wife's playful licentiousness resulting in her great embarrassment. Unlike other versions, however, there is no suggestion of moral censure in this telling of the legend: the ubiquitous fondled minister has been replaced by an auto mechanic, and the wife suffers no painful humiliation. In fact, the only one who comes to any harm is the innocent and unwitting mechanic who ends up with a bump on his head.

An early sighting of the legend features the "dropped stretcher" motif which appears in other urban legends, notably the Hind-Lick Maneuver (dog cold-noses naked man working under sink), Blew Moon (wife spritzs hairspray into toilet in attempt to kill bug; husband who aftewards lights cigarette while on throne blows himself up), and Frame Job (lady becomes stuck to freshly painted toilet seat).
[Linkletter, 1967]

A lady who had been after her husband for months to install a garbage disposal under the kitchen sink finally trapped him one Saturday afternoon, and he glumly got to work with his wrenches. Not wishing to listen to his colorful vocabulary as he banged his thumbs, she went out shopping. While downtown she ran into some girl friends and had a few cocktails, so she was feeling very friendly when she returned home. There was good old George still under the sink, working away, legs sticking out into the kitchen. So she bent down, reached under, and gave him a rudely familiar tweak. "Hi, honey," she said. There was a howl of surprise from under the sink as the man raised up and smacked his forehead against the disposal. It was the plumber! Her husband had given up on the job. The plumber crawled out, his forehead all bloody, and the wife ran to the phone for an ambulance. The husband helped the attendant load the poor plumber onto a stretcher. "How'd it happen?" asked the attendant as they were carrying the man out. When the husband told him, the attendant began laughing so hard he let go of the stretcher — and the plumber plunged to the sidewalk, breaking his arm. Imagine explaining that one to the insurance company.
Last updated:   21 February 2009

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  Sources Sources:
    Brunvand, Jan Harold.   Too Good To Be True.
    New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.   ISBN 0-393-04734-2   (pp. 140-141).

    Brunvand, Jan Harold.   The Vanishing Hitchhiker.
    New York: W. W. Norton, 1981.   ISBN 0-393-95169-3   (pp. 147-148).

    Bryson, Bill.   The Blook of Bunders (Bizarre World).
    Great Britain: Sphere Books Ltd., 1982.

    Dale, Rodney.   The Tumour in the Whale.
    London: Duckworth, 1978.   ISBN 0-7156-1314-6   (pp. 37-38, 129).

    Linkletter, Art.   Oops! Or, Life's Awful Moments.
    Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967   (pp. 66-67).

  Sources Also told in:
    Holt, David and Bill Mooney.   Spiders in the Hairdo.
    Little Rock: August House, 1999.   ISBN 0-87483-525-9   (p. 43).

    The Big Book of Urban Legends.
    New York: Paradox Press, 1994.   ISBN 1-56389-165-4   (p. 123).