The Norman Transcript

May 10, 2013

Locomotion


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — For the average person walking is a fairly simple process. You put one foot in front of the other and move.

The act of walking is part of a human being’s development which also happens to be part of a convergence of three milestones: (i) learning to talk; (ii) learning to walk; and (iii) the Terrible Twos. Of course, when it comes to your little genius, and to hear you tell it, talking and walking took place soon after the little darling emerged into the world.

It took that child nine months to make his or her debut, but once born, the clock began ticking. Therefore, the objective of this new human is to cram as much living into his or her finite life as possible.

Learning to speak is a trial in itself because grownups insist on speaking “Goo Goo” instead of the presumed mother tongue of the child. It is fortunate that interspersed between the “oochie woochie coos” are actual words and thus, in spite of the adults, the small carbon unit learns to speak the language of the people. And sometimes what comes out of the mouths of babies is not pretty.

When it comes to the Terrible Twos, far too many people have taken up permanent residence in that realm with no maturity in sight.

Walking can be tricky at first. Babies are handicapped with enormous bottom pads, also known as diapers, which make the urchins bottom heavy. If the diapers happen to be filled, then the weight distribution in those diapers becomes problematic when one is attempting to perfect the art of walking.

This diaper handicap is the reason beginner walkers tend to step, wobble and plop. In time, they learn to walk without plopping. On the other end of the spectrum, the wobbles return with advancing age and once again the walker will experience the step, wobble and plop mode of locomotion.

Walking is as distinctive as a fingerprint, just not as scientific. Years ago we had an employee whose favorite shoe was a slipper in appearance — flat and backless. This person could be heard halfway down the hall because of her schlep, schlep shuffle walk.

The sound always brought to mind the mother in the old movie musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” She wore a mink coat and squeaky brown shoes. It was neither a good visual nor an appealing sound.

Another curious walking style we observed was a woman wearing high heels. The clop, clop sounds implied that the shoes are too big and she is walking on tiptoes to keep them on.

People of girth have a rolling walk because they are unable to put one foot in front of the other. It is an interesting undulation of the entire body.

Some folks walk just like toddlers with full diapers, with their legs set wide apart. The proper term is bowlegged. In either case, whether the image in your mind is of a toddler with full diapers or someone used to straddling a horse, the gait tends to be a tipsy type of wobble from one foot to the other. This method of walking is particularly interesting when a female executes it in a short skirt.

The shimmy/wiggle walk has been known to catch many a gentleman’s eye because either the entire body or the lower half of the walker (usually a female) is in motion. Sometimes the visual is “poetry in motion” and at other times it is more of the “two pigs in a poke” variety.

Did you know the pressure per square inch produced by a 100 pound woman walking in high heels is 1500 psi whereas a 6000 pound elephant’s is only 75 psi? Well, no wonder shoes with tall, skinny heels kill our feet. With that kind of pounding, is there a danger of brain damage as the brain sloshes around in the skull?

Keeping the foregoing in mind, are you just a bit curious how you look when you walk?

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Check out her novel “The Dionysus Connection” on Amazon or ask your bookstore to order it for you. Visit her website. www.elizabethcowan.com.