Anxious Texter, Translated

by Jess Reed

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Photo by Terje Sollie on

I recently received a text from a friend containing an adorable video of aquarium critters enjoying some tasty treats called bloodwarms.

The following is my response:

Hey, sorry it took me a minute to process this video, haha. Who knew itty bitty fishes eating worms could be so cute?! If you liked that check this shit out of a bulldog puppy rolling down a hill.


This is what I really wanted to write:

Dearest Hannah,

I’m sorry it took so long for me to respond to the video you sent me Friday April 27, 2018 at 9:53 p.m. If we’re being honest, it filled me with a mixture of feelings it’s taken me until now to confidently express. So, if you’ll allow me, I’d like to explain my seemingly careless regard for your shared video.

Firstly, I’d like to establish I sincerely appreciated the gesture of familiarity and friendship this text showed. This being our first exchange of media, this generous deed did not pass without notice. Although our friendship is just now blossoming, I foresee it becoming a pillar in my social, and emotional, worlds.  

Despite this, or maybe because, the video in question, ‘Bloodworm Feeding,’ initially filled me with anxiety. Unbeknownst to you I am embarrassingly squeamish. I don’t do blood well, and spook concerningly easy (if you ever say ‘hey’ towards me while my back is turned and you are closer than a solid 6 feet you’ll hear me squeak out a pathetic yip). Not being sure what sort of videos you gravitate towards, and being unaware of what bloodworms are, I unfairly assumed I was in for a bloodbath. I was thinking worms having the Carrie experience, but without psychokinetic powers to fight back.

Once the video started, and the inspirational pop music hit, I can’t explain why other than worrying narcissism, I was not assuaged. In fact the opposite. I sincerely thought “what sick twisted fuck plays two bit Katy Perry to the massacre of worms?”. As the video progressed, and I saw the worms being prepared for their fate, my anxiety only heightened.

This begs the question, why on Earth would I think you’d send me a youtube clip of worms a la Rob Zombie? Why indeed. I was racking my brain for the first minute trying to figure out the rationale. Was it gross but beautiful, like vegan White Castle? Was it just a haunting event that need be experienced, like a dog’s eye contact while defecating? Or simple a facet of your personality I was going to have to grapple with.

It wasn’t until that silly frog ate a couple worms and floated to the bottom of his tank in content that I realized I had gravely misjudged this delightful short film. That hermit crab really enjoyed those little suckers!

Anyway, sorry for the delayed response and I hope this letter finds you well.



P.S. please enjoy this video as a token of my commitment to this friendship

Having an anxious friend is exhausting for both parties. But you can be assured your feelings and point of view are always being considered.

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