When humans forget how to human (Unsplash)

The word is out. Provinces are rolling out their reopening plans.

The news has landed like Hulk Hogan landed a power slam on Andre the Giant all over again. WE BEAT YOU, COVID-19. 

People are sharing government infographics with the same enthusiasm as if they were leaked photos from a new season of Stranger Things featuring a cast reunion of The Goonies.

Yet in the hours and days since these announcements have hit, a lingering sense of wrongness has crept into our collective psyche.

It’s a nervous little anxiety, a nagging doubt. But not about the plans. It’s about us.

See, there’s just one problem with all this “return to normal” business.

How do we normal?

In the annals of history, we are told of a time when people did such perverse things as shook hands, or gathered to watch other people on a stage, or laughed without feeling an existential sense of dread.

Can we return to these times?

With these useful tips, we can.

Understanding faces

There will be a period of shock as we come out from behind our masks and discover mouths, cheekbones, and, in cases of dedicated maskage, noses.

Allow for some natural adjustment, particularly in new workplaces, and permit yourself to say, aloud if necessary: “So THAT’S what you look like? HUH.”

Also try to keep in mind that you will no longer be able to silently mouth the lyrics to “Baby Got Back” in quiet anonymity any more.

Communicating emotion with one’s face is also something that may need to be practiced. A series of exercises at home in front of the mirror will prove useful.

You can get in a good facial workout with a set of lip lifts, nostril flares, Renee Zellwegger patented-pouts, contemptible sneer lunges, and some burpees. Like actual belching.

Oral language

After a prolonged period of time on so-called “social” media and the interwebs, some natural loss of linguistic ability is to be expected.

Carrying around a set of emoticon flashcards might seem like a good substitute, but in practice is doomed to failure (there are only so many times you can frantically flip for the poop emoji before you tire).

No, we must re-learn our language. Here are some simple phrases to get you started:

“Hello” (hell-oh, like Jell-o) – standard greeting

“Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong” – standard greeting for people who like obscure cartoon references

“How bout this rain/sun/snow/hurricane/active tornado we’re having?” – surefire conversation starter and crowd pleaser

“I recently subscribed to Starz” – universal plea for help

“Let me tell YOU about chemtrails” – useful phrase to dissuade annoying charity people with binders and vests

Preparing your home for visitors

It may no longer be prudent to keep the porn DVDs on the shelf. We know you meticulously sorted them by category and your own unique “nastiness” ratings, but trust us, they don’t make for good hosting.

Also, if you have found the time to not only count but individually name the planks in your hardwood floor, these are fun facts best kept to yourself. We know lockdown has been hard.

Alternatively, change nothing

…and realize that much of human interaction was overrated.

Seriously, at one point did we decide that forcefully clasping and pumping another person’s hand was the standard method for greeting? I don’t know where you’ve been. Or for that matter, what your nastiness rating is.

Greet me instead in the way of my people — the people who masked up, locked down, and made the world a safer place: give me the subtlest of nods, with a large space between us, and never invite me to your home while you’re sick.

It is our way.

Welcome to Ford on Fridays: a weekly column where Victoria Buzz staff writer Tim Ford offers his thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of the perfect joke.

This column is for comedic purposes only. Please feel free to send feedback, thoughts, and [constructive] criticisms to

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