2002/11/18
 
23:47

Hard Water Gait

Physiognomists rejoice! First, rejoice because you probably don't get mentioned very often in blogs, yet here you are. Second, rejoice because I have discovered a new mode of human locomotion!

Well, new to me, anyhow.

I was reading a article a few years ago that stated that there are three normal ways for people to move forward: walking, running and (added with seeming reluctance by the author) skipping. Come to think of it, it's been a while since I had a good skip.

Today as I was walking home on the ice-covered sidewalks, it occured to me that I wasn't really walking in the usual way. I had, I decided, discovered a new gait. Since I like to name things I imagine I've discovered, I'm calling this the Canadian Uncertain Surface Trundle, or cust for short.

Custing is like regular walking, except that the foot always remains parallel to the ground. As all Canadians without skull fractures know, when you're walking on slick ice, you never push off with your toe unless you've got the balancing skills that only the sport of curling can teach you.

The resulting steps look a bit robotic, but by golly when we put our foot down, we get as much friction as we can have, and we hang on to terra firma for as long as possible. Twice in my life I've gone butt-over-teakettle from walking wrong. One of these incidents occured on a curling rink, and the crack of my head against the surface echoed throughout the arena. The other incident was on a hockey rink and (as best as I could tell before I blacked out) it was a source of great amusement to my young friend.

So, is custing really a new discovery? Well, probably not. I don't read physiognomy journals. I'm not even sure they exist. But if they do, I'm sure they've already documented this particular stride. I expect they've also analyzed the physics of the drunken stagger, the Bunny Hop (with and without the wedding gown), and the "Why do I have to go to my room?" stomp.

But hey, physiognomists use search engines, too. I've just increased my blog's traffic by five or six people per year!

Ergonomicists. There! Five more.

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