Dear Spambot

Over the 3+ years here at TWR we’ve done our part to make a name for ourselves and carve out a niche in the ever-growing “Always smart, often irreverent, and occasionally serious” blogosphere. Not to blow our own horn–oh Tobias, you blowhard!–but we’ve even surpassed our archnemesis (link purposely not included) on google rankings.


Still, to misquote the esteemed and prolific writer Source Unknown, “with great power comes great exposure to spambots.” As a collective of freelance, aspiring, and/or self-literate writers, we’re always looking for new content. Think zombies, but instead of brains we crave good writing, and instead of communicating via groaning noises we speak Esperanto.

Hence the link on our website to “write for us” that has given us one to three actual writers and infinity plus one spambot requests. Most of the time we delete them and move on our merry way. But sometimes, just sometimes, if we’re bored enough and/or there’s no one new in our area on Tinder, we’ll take the time to respond. A few examples below for your reading pleasure (actual names and emails redacted for fear of spambot retaliation).

Spambot 1

guest post 1 guest post 1 response
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Grieve Responsibly

Somewhere over the past year, I hit that point in my life where I’d spent enough time crying over disappointments and broken hearts and well, tragedies, to learn a bit about the grieving process. The older that I get and the busier my life, the less bandwidth I have to linger too long in dark, weepy places (you’ve got to get those groceries at some point)–and life is full of them. The good news: when people obnoxiously tell you that “this too shall pass” it’s true. It shall! But until it passes (like a kidney stone), it pretty much sucks. Here are some tips on how to grieve responsibly.

Courtesy of Buzzquotes

Don’t Wallow
A few years ago, a friend of mine experienced a breakup and she just really wanted to wallow in it. Like hard. Then when I experienced a breakup not long after that, I decided to similarly soak in my sorrow. That was a terrible idea and since then I’ve adopted a no-tolerance stance on wallowing when grieving. This doesn’t mean that you don’t grieve. I am all for staying present in grief, letting tears come, not fighting the sadness or pretending it away with a happy face. But just as TLC advised us not to chase waterfalls, we shouldn’t chase grief. Don’t let yourself make the grief about all the other disappointments you have in your life (“no one will ever love me,” “God took this away from me,” “remember in ninth grade when Laura didn’t invite me to that party???”). Honor the loss that you just suffered by being in it. Then, put on your clothes, shave your face if you must, put on some makeup if you do (yes, even if you’ll just cry it all off dramatically in the office bathroom), and keep on going. Continue reading

The Realistic Dietitian Goes to Africa


After about 24 hours of travel, I am home from Mozambique! I had a great trip, but I am certainly happy to be home. I was traveling as the Health and Nutrition Coordinator for Food for the Hungry to close out a clinical, nutrition-focused HIV/AIDS services-strengthening project in the Niassa Province of Mozambique. I was not involved with the program during its five-year project life, but I was grateful to be able to work with the great team to wrap up all of the HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support activities.

I spent the first week of my trip in the capital city of Maputo and spent the second week in the beautiful northern village of Pemba, where I helped train staff on a survey technique called “Barrier Analysis” and field-tested a survey focused on purifying household water. For the first week we stayed in a hotel and the second week we stayed with a wonderful family that works for Food for the Hungry. The only challenging thing about Pemba was the lack of (regularly) running water. It reminded me of my days in Liberia–bucket showers and bed nets!

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Some Midsummer’s Day Haikus

Some drawing of Shakespeare characters by William Blake. BFD. Neither Shakespeare nor Blake wrote haikus.

Summer Love
Her eyes quench my thirst
Her hair, smooth like Gatorade
I might have heat stroke.


*You have one voicemail*
“Hey Earth, it’s Hell calling. I
want my weather back.”


The Oppressed Majority
Long-sleeved shirt and pants.
Stupid tie. Can’t breathe. Summer
Male fashion is tough.


The Oppressed Majority (a rejoinder)
Right now I’m playing
The world’s smallest violin
While rocking these heels


The Least Wonderful Time of the Year?
Pizza crusts e’rywhere
Bars smell of Axe body spray
It’s intern season.


Summer Camp
Arts and crafts, noogies.
Bunk beds, gentle sobbing. Sweet
Repressed memories.


Old Man at the Beach with Metal Detector and Fanny Pack
Not sure who you are
Or where you came from. But you
Exist, and that’s great.


The Growing Season: A Letter and a Kick

This is the latest installment of The Growing Season. For the other installments please click here.

Later that day, after I’ve washed the dirt off and put my feet up, I pull out my computer and start typing an email. Maybe it’s the easy way out compared to calling, but the written word has always come more easily to me than the spoken one, so I type.

Dear Cara,

I’m sorry our last conversation ended the way it did. Looking back on it now, I realize there were a lot of unspoken words that went into that fight, and I’d like to say those words now, because our friendship means a lot to me and I don’t want it to fade away. It feels like that’s what’s happening.

When you got pregnant last year, I’m sure no one was more surprised and disappointed than you. But in my own horribly selfish way, I felt let down. I don’t know if it was just because of the tensions that it led to between the four of us, or the sense that life would never be the same even though I wanted it to. I guess it was a little of both. And then when you pulled away from us as we were trying to help, I felt betrayed. I know I had no right to feel that way, no right to be thinking so much of myself instead of you, but there you have it. Turns out I have a lot to learn about being a friend, and being fair. Continue reading