Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ministry of Silly Walks - I Saw A Candidate

Some of you are old enough to have watched the original Monty Python series on TV. Others may have caught reruns. Anyway, there was this one segment called the Ministry of Silly Walks, where they'd highlight people who walked differently. I admit some of it was in poor taste, but much of it was laughable.

Here's a link to a video from the Ministry of Silly Walks, for the uninitiated or those who'd like to reminisce.

Anyway, an incident that happened twice last week reminded me of Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks. After exiting my commuter train at Ogilvie Transportation Centre and beginning to walk the platform toward the main portion of the station, I saw something very strange. This happened not once, but twice. There's the platform, then there are stairs leading downward to another area where you can connect to the underground portion to catch a cab, bus or other transportation.

I'm usually one of the last ones off the train, because I'm busy on my laptop computer during the train ride and then I wait for it to go through the Windows machinations to close out properly. That area of the platform is pretty well cleared of commuters when I step off the train, except for the engineer making his way to the other side of the train, a few stragglers, and the conductors.

Okay, here's what saw. I saw a man head down the stairs to the underground portion of the station. He only took a few steps, then he turned around and walked the remaining stairs backwards! Twice in the same week I saw the same guy do this. I'm not sure if it will happen again next week or not.

I have no idea why he does this. I know that in aerobics class we sometimes walk backwards with the purpose of strengthening the back of our knees. But to walk down stairs backwards, that seems absurd. In my way of thinking, any benefits from strengthening muscles would certainly be obliviated by the possibility of a nasty fall. It's easy enough to fall when you're walking straight. I've done it.

Maybe I'll figure out why someone would do this. Then I can create a character in one of my books who happens to walks backwards down stairs. At any rate, it did get me to thinking about including walking mannerisms and gait for the characters in my books. There are terrific possibilies along these lines. There's a person with a limp. How did it happen? Arthritis, a war wound? Or, there's the way a child skips, a confident guy lopes into a room, or a pregnant woman balances herself.

There are many other possibilites. I invite you to name any you think of. Also, if you've sited an unusual walker or just someone who did something out of the ordinary, please share.


  1. I do the same thing because I have a bum knee! Going backwards down stairs puts less strain on the knee. LOL. Much less painful though odd in appearance. And did you know the Minister of Silly Walks is on Twitter? Follow @JohnCleese.


  2. There is a possibility he suffers from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Often people with this disorder have "rituals" that must be followed in order for them to feel comfortable or "safe".

  3. What is ordinary? I do as much as possible that is not the normal way, just to be different.


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