How to talk to humans

Conversation game face

Conversation game face

Use words
It’s true that Donald Trump has the best words but there are still some pretty good ones around, so make sure you have some at the ready. “Pernicious,” “duodenum,” “colonial” and “patricide” are just a few of the dozens of words available. It will be up to you, however, to put these words in an order that makes sense. We do this by forming “thoughts” and then transforming those thoughts into “sentences” using our “mouths” as well as “facial” “expressions,” which we’ll get to in a “minute.”

Wait: did you say thoughts?
Yes, thoughts are the engine that drive conversation. It’s true that many conversations and entire political systems can transpire without thoughts, but these are not encouraged or even a tiny bit pleasant. You really shouldn’t speak unless you have an idea or at very least can do a good impersonation of Albert Brooks. Was Albert Brooks the comedian who pretended to be drunk? No, that was Foster Brooks. See? Ideas lead to stimulating exchanges like that.

Where do these so-called “thoughts” come from?
In the brain are thousands of thinkifiers that are triggered by external stimulus and celebrity news stories. These thinkifiers can be active or dormant, depending on such variables as barometric pressure and the proximity of Steve Buscemi. It’s good to have a thought in advance of speaking to a human because social situations depress the thinkifier, rendering it next to impossible to come up with something to contribute to a conversation, especially if the human is totally cute or has something distracting hanging from her nostril.

Practice makes practice
A good way to prepare to talk to humans is to practice in a mirror. This way you’ll be able to see how truly, truly awkward you are when you try to talk. It’s important to be mentally prepared for the worst. “Your mouth moves funny,” you can say to yourself, “like a walrus chewing a throw rug.” Note that when you are practicing in a mirror, your mirror-self will be talking back at the same time. This doesn’t normally happen when you are talking to an actual human, unless, of course, the human is an economist. Stay away from economists.

The most important thing to remember when preparing to engage humans in conversation is that they probably don’t want to talk to you. Why would they? Walrus face. Your best bet is to hover near the edge of an existing conversation so that it looks like you’re a part of it or preparing to lift someone’s wallet. This way, you can interject a comment (“You said a mouthful, busteroo!”), a wisecrack (“Not if you put it on a cracker!”) or a loud expletive (“!*&$#!!”). And just like that you are part of the conversation with the humans, although blank stares do not technically constitute a conversation.

Release the sounds
To speak effectively to humans, the words you choose (“paramecium,” “bursar,” “trillium”) need to come out of your mouth. Nose-talking has yet to be perfected, despite years of clinical research, so mouth it is. Opening your lips and letting the sound out with a bit of force behind it is the only way. Forget about what those lips look like; we prepared for this with the mirror. Mumbling never did anyone good, except Van Morrison, but he never seems very happy, now does he? And, don’t worry, that sense of awkwardness and embarrassment you’re feeling as you talk is completely normal for someone like you.

About those facial expressions
Stop twitching.

And other body language
Humans receive information not just from your words but from body signals. Nothing undermines the thoughts and words you’ve worked so hard to formulate quite like curling up in a fetal position. Do not wave your hands about or stick them down the front of your pants and definitely not someone else’s pants.

Agreeing to disagree to agree
If you’ve managed to spurt out a string of words that somehow expressed an idea, it is possible that the human may disagree with you, even challenge you. This does not (necessarily) make the human a jerk but rather constitutes the lively give and take of conversation. Your options are to a) politely defend your point of view with reasoned fact; b) sweat profusely while fighting back angry hot tears of shame; c) cave like a Tijuana sinkhole.

Ending the conversation
Remember: the human doesn’t really want to talk to you. So simply stop talking. You’ll be doing him or her a favour. After a minute or so of silence and long sips of drinks, the human will say, “Well, I’ve got to go digest some food now,” and before you can say “duodenum,” they’ll be off. Congratulate yourself on your successful “conversation.” You’ll have lots of time to do so now that you are once again “blissfully” alone.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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29 Responses to How to talk to humans

  1. Karen says:

    You should teach a seminar.

    I spent the past three days in front of a group of humans, talking, talking, talking. All these tips would have been helpful before, you know, so, well, thanks for nothing.

  2. franhunne4u says:

    Agreeing to disagree to agree
    If you’ve managed to spurt out a string of words that somehow expressed an idea, it is possible that the human may disagree with you, even challenge you. This does not (necessarily) make the human a jerk but rather constitutes the lively give and take of conversation.

    Why has never anybody told me before? How embarassing. – Now I should have to apologize – if all those I called “jerks” would still talk to me that is.

  3. List of X says:

    I wish I could say how good this post is, but this talking thing is apparently much harder than I thought.

  4. Paul says:

    Hmmm, no putting hands down pants,eh? Well, that’s where I’ve been going wrong. It is such a public service you are doing here Ross. The only thing you didn’t mention, that I would like your view on was how to merge onto Autoroutes (Interstates for our American readers) properly. If you could educate the public on that topic you would make it a better world for those who have a hard time starting a conversation – almost like a good merge is like a good conversation – and starting one of those means pulling your hands out of your pants. Your assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Lisa Neumann says:

    ‘agree to disagree’ option: (d) Flip my middle finger and lovingly and silently walk away. (I reserve this for only the closest of humans.) TY for the public service

  6. byebyebeer says:

    This was dangerous to read in a crowded but thankfully mirrorless room because of all the laughing. I have no idea how you come up with (thinkify) these things (words) but you are hilarious.

  7. ksbeth says:

    the pants advice is very good. i wish someone had told me that years ago instead of learning the hard way.

  8. pinklightsabre says:

    For me, this post best exhibits your unique ASSets. I would like to know, if you would share, if you read this aloud just in your head or if you recorded this one? Because it is really, really tight, yo’. I think this is you doing you at your best, so to speak. Thank you, you crispy nugget, you. Bill

    • rossmurray1 says:

      This one is print only, but I try to be conscious of cadence and rhythm in my writing. Like “walrus” and “throw rug,” I like the sound of them in my head and the way the syllables create beats. I also go back and trim what’s not necessary. In fact, this is longer than I normally like. Wrote this quite quickly actually. There’s some laziness in here (booger/pants jokes) as a consequence. But, you know, you can’t beat the classics.

      • pinklightsabre says:

        Work an old woman into it with the name Dorkus. The classics are classics for a reason right?

  9. Donald Trump has yuge words. Yuge American words.

    Foster Brooks: Making alcoholism a laugh-riot.

    Ernest Hemingway walks into a bar. He sees James Joyce sitting in the corner weeping. He walks up to him and says, “What the hell’s the matter with you this time?” Joyce says, “Papa, I wrote seven words today!”
    “What are you crying about? That’s pretty good for you.”
    “Yes, but, I don’t know what order they go in.”

  10. Paul says:

    As an aside Ross I did a guest post over at Mark Bialczak’s today. I would be honored if you had the time to drop by for a read: Thank You.

  11. Pingback: The Green Study’s “Positively Happy Nice Story” Contest: 2nd Place | The Green Study

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