Question #22: “You Know That Thing Where You’re Walking And You Almost Run Into Someone, And So They Try To Go Left To Get Around You, But You Also Go Left? And Then You Try To Go Right, But They Also Go Right? Etc.? What’s That Called, And How Can I Solve This Problem?”

17 Jan

When I looked in my inbox today and saw this question from Lila, of San Paolo, I must admit, I was at first overwhelmed with unbridled fury and indignation. You may have noticed, Dear Readers, that as an advice columnist, this tends to be my first reaction  to most questions. (This owing to the fact that I studied  under the tutelage of the late, great, Dr. Gerhard Gritzleshcleiben, founder of the Schadenfreude School of advice columnist technique, to whom I owe everything). However, after a few beers and solemn contemplation, an amazing thing happened. Oh, Dear Readers, how can I express to you the trembling awe and joy that came when I realized both the enormity of the question at hand, as well as the fact that I–your humble Absentee Daddy– possessed the answer? Shining forth radiantly as a blazing torch, illuminating the heretofore night-shrouded path to humanity’s ultimate salvation?

The answer to your first question, Dear Lila, is yes, I do know that thing. I’ve encountered that phenomenon many times over the course of my life while walking, as I believe most of us have. The name for it? Well, there are three answers to that. The scientific name for it is “Collisionus-Avoidium Maximus Inexplicable-Confusionus,” basically, another unnecessarily long and fancy name that a bunch of scientists sat down and decided to curse the fucking world with one day. Informally, it is known as “The Two Man Traffic Jam,” or, what I like to call, “The Retard Waltz.”

How much time has been wasted throughout the eons of mankind’s history, I wonder, dancing the Retard Waltz? You’ll be pleased to know I actually calculated it: approximately 7,856 combined years, when you add up all the time that two people have spent retardedly trying to get around each other. Do you have any idea where we, as a species, would be right now if we’d simply all agreed on a universal rule for dealing with The Retard Waltz?

First of all, by my calculations, the resulting increase in productivity resulting from the time saved would mean that 6,000 years ago, instead of riding donkeys and having not yet invented cameras so as to be able to categorically rule out the possibility of the occurrence of many fanciful, preposterous events that a bunch of morons believe actually happened, and to this day fight about, human society would be here:

Our world, circa 4,000 B.C., in a parallel universe where the Retard Waltz problem had been solved by a parallel Absentee Daddy sometime before the last ice age.

That’s right, we’d have already constructed magnificent societies and cities, complex systems by which to govern them, flashed through the Enlightenment, breezed through the Industrial Revolution, developed highly advanced technologies, and destroyed it all in a nuclear holocaust. All before the first stone was laid for the Great Pyramid.

At that rate, just imagine where we’d hypothetically be today?

Well, the good news, Lila, and World, is that this, the greatest human conundrum of pedestrian conundrums, stops right here, right now. Because I have solved the problem. The answer to your second question, Lila, “How do I solve this problem?” Is this:

Go right.

Yes. Whenever you find yourself doing the Retard Waltz with someone, just go right. If everyone is on the same page, then the training will automatically kick in, and we’ll all go right as soon as the confusion-fraught situation manifests itself. Which means, Retard Waltz problem solved, and much time saved. Now, if there happens to be a:


Or a:

Snarling Mandrill.


To your right, then you simply:

To the wall or snarling mandrill, while the other person goes right, after which time, you go forward.

And really, Lila, and World, it’s as easy as that. The Retard Waltz problem solved, in one fell post. Consider this my belated Christmas gift to the world.

I just seriously improved all of humanity, so please, spread this around, so that maybe, just maybe, I’ll never have to do the Retard Waltz again. Also, if you have any money you can spare, my PayPal account is linked to It’s really the least you can do, since I basically just fixed nearly everything. And if you can’t spare more than 50 bucks, don’t feel too bad.

I answer all questions ever.


4 Responses to “Question #22: “You Know That Thing Where You’re Walking And You Almost Run Into Someone, And So They Try To Go Left To Get Around You, But You Also Go Left? And Then You Try To Go Right, But They Also Go Right? Etc.? What’s That Called, And How Can I Solve This Problem?””

  1. projectmommy1 January 19, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Why you got my website on this crazy ass shit.

  2. Catherine McP January 18, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    I always just figured one of the people are left handed. (like me..ha!)

  3. dfoggers January 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    I was thinking “hah, I always go left though!” until I saw your rule. This conflicts me….

    • absenteedaddy January 18, 2011 at 3:33 am #

      You raise an interesting point, D. I deliberated over Left for quite some time. However, after much consideration, I decided to go Right, due to the fact that I’m not sure how prevalent the Retard Waltz problem is in non-English speaking countries.

      The decision to go Right was ultimately based upon elementary school teachability. I’m thinking ahead to classroom friendliness, you see. Being that, in English, “right” is not only a directional descriptor, but a synonym for “correct,” as well, I felt, after much tortured deliberation, that it would be easier for the children to remember “right is right,” or something along those lines. I’m not sure how this would translate to Mandarin, for instance, but for now, I’m just trying to standardize a universal response to The Waltz Problem, beginning with the English speaking world.

      In summation, you are correct. “Left” would work just as well, in theory. At any rate, it is absolutely key that we all get on the same page with this. Because if half of us are always going left, and the other half always going right, we could very well end up perpetually gridlocked. Which would leave us a lot worse off than we started.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: