If you watch a school of fish change direction, they move as a perfect group. Humans never adapted this skill. If you took that same school of fish and threw them on the sidewalk, they'd still move more efficiently than a school of humans.
Bad Walking is the phenomenon where people drift into one another, absent-mindedly form choke points, or otherwise do retarded things on sidewalks.
I split my time between San Francisco and airports, which are probably the two worst places for Bad Walking. San Francisco sidewalks are paved with hobos and filled with tourists from countries that speak entirely in collisions. And post 9-11 you're not even allowed to have all your chromosomes on you at an airport. All these facts mean that I spend a good 80 percent of my life stuck behind, and between, pedestrians while other pedestrians ram into the side of me.
It's given me time to develop this Bad Walking naming system. It's a code based on the NBA that describes each type of Bad Walker using your favorite basketball stars!
The Tim Hardaway
When you're about to walk straight into someone and they fake left, fake right, then go left again, that's the Tim Hardaway. When you're obstructed by this type of bad walker, part of their brain doesn't want to run into you, but another part of their brain is oatmeal. Oh, that would have made more sense if I'd mentioned that you've been carrying an oatmeal magnet during this whole description. Sorry!
Prevention: There's really nothing you can do against a Tim Hardaway. If they go one direction and you go the other to avoid them, they instinctively think YOU'RE faking, so they'll get back in your way. And you can't outfake them. If you decide to stop juking and just pick a direction, they smash into you. Your breaking of the head-faking cycle is a signal to the non-oatmeal part of their brain to do the same thing. Unfortunately, the non-non-oatmeal part, or oatmeal part, is the part in charge of spotting obstacles. You're not getting out of this until you completely stop and share a nervous laugh with the bad walker. Congratulations, he's made you one of them.
Advanced Prevention: You need something special to snap this walker out of their brain loop and get them to move away from you at the same time. You could try screaming crazy things like, "This one's oatmeal center craves my impact!" Or you could very subtly show them a gun, but if you're screaming insane shit like that, I'm sure it's already out.
The Vlade Divac
One thing is certain in the NBA: When you go up for a shot, somewhere along the way you're going to hit Vlade Divac, and he's going to flop around and act like he needs to go to the hospital. The term Vlade Divac is Serbo-Croatian for "Fragile Underfoot Vagina-Stack." It's tough to translate since our language mostly uses adverbs to describe horrors like vagina-stacks. For example, uncomfortably.
A Vlade Divac will run into you no matter where the two of you are. If you walk towards one on an empty sidewalk, he or she will veer for you. If they are coming from the side, they will pick a collision course with you no matter how much you try to avoid it. If you were to fill these people with dynamite and mail them to the Navy, they could be used as self-guided missiles. This would save taxpayers $284,000 each. $284,004 if you count the four dollar coffee they knock over when they collide with you.
Prevention: When an enemy jet has missile lock on you, you can drop chaff to confuse its guidance system. The same principle works here. Drop the inflatable decoy of yourself that you purchased earlier. Warning: This only fools people if you come completely nude with wrap-around arms, lifelike hair and three sinfully plungeable holes. Second Warning: I actually got this idea from a sex doll's packaging, not a fighter pilot.
The Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is great at two things: anal rampage and pull-up jumpers. Both of them baffle defenders. On a sidewalk, the term Kobe Bryant refers to someone walking in front of you at full speed who suddenly stops. No one knows why they do it. Maybe they're hoping for accidental anal rampage. Maybe they forgot which foot comes after "left." Whatever the reason, they always seem to know exactly when you're not ready.
Prevention: If I knew how to stop Kobe Bryant, then I wouldn't be sitting here staring at the seven-pound diamond ring he gave me and waiting for it to take my mind off all the anal rampage.
The Kevin Duckworth
For many years, the Portland Trailblazers' defensive gameplan was a slow but impenetrable wall named Kevin Duckworth. He was a two-time all-star center who somehow managed to keep gaining weight even after he was legally the Moon. If he opened his mouth wide enough to dispute a foul, you could hear whole, live animals being violently digested. He's why Oregon buffets adopted a Whites Only policy. On a sidewalk, a Kevin Duckworth is someone who is too wide to get past, too slow to travel behind and almost certainly upset that life expects them to move. And like the real Kevin Duckworth, they smell and sound vaguely like animal panic.
Prevention: There's no real solution for Kevin Duckworth. And while the one in front of you is blocking every path, there's one behind you going three times the speed of man in a motorized cart. At this point, the best you can hope for is getting crushed to death before panic makes you do something embarrassing.
The Magic Johnson
Before he baffled modern medicine, Magic Johnson baffled defenders with the no-look pass. The concept is simple: You look one way and throw the ball the other. If you're a dick, you can try this at home with a baby or a puppy. On the sidewalk, a Magic Johnson describes the type of person who comes out of a doorway at full speed, checking only in one direction. And he or she never guesses right. It's like these people learned how to merge with traffic by watching squirrels dart across the street.
Prevention: Technically, I'm not even supposed to have "Prevention" and "Magic Johnson" on the same page. He was having unprotected sex 10-ways in the 80s. The 80s! The 80s were so paranoid about STDs that you had to wear a condom to buy underwear. To this day, you can't sing Cyndi Lauper songs without a dental dam. And if there isn't a layer of rubber between your genitals and Smurfs, you have hepatitis. Well, Magic Johnson had no idea about all that. He was apparently too busy cleaning up hooker fluid with his 80s newspapers to read them.
The '94 Knicks
In the early 90s, the New York Knicks seemed less interested in defense than they were about hurting people. Why jump up to block a shot in the fourth quarter when elbowing that player in the face for the first three quarters yields the same result? I use the '94 Knicks to describe a group of people walking together who seem to know they're about to run you over, and they like it.
Prevention: In the '94 Finals, the Knicks were stopped by interrupting the game with footage of the OJ Simpson car chase. In response, Knick players John Starks and Charles Oakley beat their way through the NBC offices until they got to the top. No one knows what happened, but when they left, everyone was dead and Saved By the Bell: The College Years was canceled. After that, the only thing that slowed the Knicks down was Patrick Ewing's kneecaps. So that brings me to my point: If a wall of people wants to flatten you, pick the biggest one and take him out at the knees. I love it when you can chase a metaphor to a perfect solution.
The Shawn Kemp
If you were born after 1990, there's a 17 percent chance that Shawn Kemp is your biological father. He impregnates so many women that if we could convince him to fuck trees, he could stabilize deforestation. On a sidewalk, a Shawn Kemp is a person who travels with all of their many children. They block your way with strollers and darting kids, and just like the real Shawn Kemp they're probably only aware of a tiny portion of them.
Prevention: As long as none of the children are attached to the parent with a leash, you should be able to get through with careful jumps and cartwheels. If one of them is wearing a leash, you should consider it a boss battle. Which of course means you circle them until their vulnerable points flash and then hit them with a boomerang.
The Dominique Wilkins
When Michael Jordan jumped into the air, the other team had two choices: let him dunk or put five defenders on him. If they took the second option, Jordan would pass the ball to one of four wide-open teammates. It almost wasn't fair. Dominique Wilkins played the same way, but there was a big difference. It only took two defenders to throw a monkey wrench into his plans and he was often nine- or 10-feet into the air before he realized he had no idea what the hell he was going to do with the basketball he was holding. And by the time he landed, Vlade Divac was already driving to the women's shelter to hide from his abusive offensive fouls.
On a sidewalk, the term Dominique Wilkins refers to people trying to weave through a crowd with intense purpose but little to no foresight. They'll squeeze through a strolling couple just to trap themselves in a cul-de-sac of smoking hipsters and confused foreigners with a map. Then they have to backtrack, duck and spin to get back to where they were. All these rapid course corrections set off everyone else's bad walking, and the perfect storm of pointless zig-zagging is created. It's like veering into another lane in heavy traffic, only you can hear everyone call you an asshole.
Prevention: I have some bad news. If you weren't any of the first seven bad walkers, this one is you.