CHICAGO—Moments after retiring to a small suburban home, raising three sons, and enjoying a distinguished career as a trial lawyer, local resident Fred Havemeyer was mortified to learn that the zipper of his pants had been down for the past 56 years of his life, sources reported today.

Fred and Margaret Havemeyer celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in April 2007.

"Oh, for crying out loud," the Chicago native said upon realizing he had just spent six decades walking around with his pants undone. "You have got to be kidding me."

Despite trying to reassure himself that "maybe nobody had noticed" that his fly was open during the latter half of the 20th century, Havemeyer only grew more crestfallen the longer he thought about his gaffe.

"You mean, this entire time? On the wrestling team? Vacationing with Margaret and the kids at Lake George? During my first communion?" said Havemeyer, his flushed face buried deep inside his hands. "Oh Christ, the '60s! I just remembered the 1960s."

Added Havemeyer, "Why didn't anyone I have ever known at any point in my life say something?"

Racing to check a series of framed photographs from his wedding day, the civil rights march he helped organize in college, the last time he ever saw his now deceased father, and the time he met former Cubs great Ernie Banks, Havemeyer reportedly spent the next hour slowly shaking his head and swearing beneath his breath.

"Well, I suppose it's not that bad," the 58-year-old said in an attempt to lift his spirits and find solace in the life-spanning blunder. "After all, I've overcome worse setbacks than this before. Like 10 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer and had to—aw crap, don't tell me it was down during my battle with cancer, too!"

Havemeyer said that the embarrassing mistake must have occurred after leaving the bathroom a half century ago. Busy attending his high school prom, serving two tours of duty in Vietnam, purchasing his first car, running for city council, teaching his kids how to zip up their pants, and growing old with his wife, Havemeyer claimed he never thought of checking to see if his fly was down until earlier this afternoon.

"I guess I assumed it was closed," he said.

Although he is now nervous about running into any of the roughly 370,000 people he's ever met, Havemeyer said that the discovery of his open zipper does clear up a number of niggling questions he's had over the years.

"It all makes sense now," he said. "The way people kept telling me to 'close the ol' barn door' even though I'd never worked on a farm, the constant giggling inquiries into my fear of heights, my resounding success delivering best-man speeches, the 26 misdemeanors I've been charged with for public indecency. It all adds up."

"My nickname of 'Fly-Down Freddy' also seems a lot more on the money now," Havemeyer added.

Despite his embarrassment, the retiree said he still believes it is important to maintain a sense of humor about the incident.

"In the end, you need to be able to laugh at yourself," Havemeyer told reporters. "There's no use getting all bent out of shape over one silly mistake."

Havemeyer then chuckled to himself, revealing a giant piece of spinach he's had lodged between his front two teeth since the Cuban Missile Crisis.