Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 05.16.16
Stanstead, Quebec


How to talk to humans

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.