"Do not text and walk," pleaded the woman who went headfirst into a shopping-mall fountain this week after doing exactly that. She was on Good Morning America apparently trying to spare other texters the same terrible fate, not because she had been injured but because she was embarrassed after the video made it onto the Internet:
She is also, of course, threatening legal action:
There is not much I can say about her attempts to explain the fall itself -- it's better if you just listen to her try. She does say at the outset that she "had nothing to grab onto," which might be an attempt to blame the mall for not putting up a railing. But her real complaint is that mall employees, who you can hear laughing hysterically in the background of the surveillance video, put the video on YouTube and it has since gone viral. Rather than having a sense of humor about it, though, she lawyered up and went on GMA to blame everybody but herself. (Congratulations to her attorney, who does a remarkable job of keeping a straight face during the interview, which is more than George Stephanopolous could do.)
As someone who has walked into a lamppost while looking out at San Francisco Bay, smacking into it hard enough to break my sunglasses and start a small trickle of blood running from my temple, I can confirm that this is the sort of an event you very much hope nobody saw, let alone caught on video. But if it does happen, a lawsuit is not the right response. (I briefly considered suing the Bay for being an attractive nuisance, but I was still dazed at the time.) The right response is to assume someone is watching and immediately make fun of yourself in hopes that you may seem like less of a tool.
For example, if you were to, let's say, walk into a lamppost, you might want to pause (to show that you understand the gravity of what just happened), and then lay down in front of the lamppost with your arms and legs splayed out in some ridiculous manner (to show you know it was stupid). Then consider (1) reenacting the event several times at a slower speed, (2) staggering around like a zombie for a while, and/or (3) picking up a nearby two-by-four (if any) and beating the lamppost as if to punish it for attacking you. Certainly other options may be available.
But don't get a lawyer and go on Good Morning America. This is publicity you don't want, and can have a number of adverse effects, including showing that you are humorless and also making your identity (not apparent from the video) known to the whole world.
Should the lawsuit succeed, of course, I will be looking up the statute of limitations for lamppost assault and unintentional infliction of emotional distress.