ted-pillow

Ted Pillow

Ted Pillow is a regular contributor to Thought Catalog, and has written for The Awl, PopMatters, and Slacktory. His collected writing can be found at Fanny Pack Spectacular! He tweets @TedPillow.

http://fannypackspectacular.wordpress.com/author/tedpillow/

17 Reasons Why Many of Us Will Have A Mid-Life Crisis

1. You’re trying to live a lifestyle beyond your means. You’re always buying fancy things you can’t afford, like medicine or a bed. 2. You’ve come to the crushing realization that your current occupation isn’t just a temporary arrangement, but a career.Which isn’t exactly good news, since you’re unemployed. 3. You’re starting to look older. You get really depressed when you don’t get IDed at the club, so now you make sure the bouncer sees you getting dropped off in your mom’s Honda Odyssey. 4. You’re ridiculously over-critical of potential mates. You recently ended a first date before the main course came out, explaining, “I love you, but I’m not IN love with you.” 5. Everyone around you is making serious life decisions. Your friends have started to have babies and you really resent them for it. The babies, that is. “I wish you were never born,” you whisper into their little baby ears, cradling them while the parents exchange concerned glances. “Your existence makes me feel inadequate. Can you say ‘inadequate’?” 6. You can’t drink like you used to. You’re still hungover from New Year’s Eve 2014. 7. Weird old people things are happening to your body. Your back went out last weekend and you finally realized why your dad was such a dick all the time. 8. You’re single. And not like, “fun, no responsibilities” single. Like, “spinster” single. On your taxes, you tried...

6 Reasons Why You Love Your Friends From College

1. You can’t give up your friends from college because you have no idea where to make new ones Saying goodbye to your high school friends is made significantly easier by the fact that you know you’re about to make a bunch more. There might be some slight trepidation about meeting new people, but it’s quickly set aside when you start making friends in your dorm and classes and the youthful offenders program a court mandates you to enter when you get your first underage drinking violation. Post-college life has no such safety net – making friends in real life is freaking hard. The people at your job may be twice your age, busy raising a family, and spend Happy Hour complaining about the herniated disc in their lower back. Soon enough you’re on the verge of becoming one of those lonely movie characters that picks up a hooker and pays her “just to talk.” 2. You’re not bonding over *NYSNC and the NWO I made most of my hometown friends during middle school. The year was 2000, I was 13, and the cultural landscape was very, very bleak. We young men, wallets secured safely to our pants by totally kickass chains, wound up devising friendships over our love of Limp Bizkit, pro wrestling, and dial-up internet porn. I’m still close with some of those pubescent pals whose interests evolved...

25 Fun Facts About the Transition from Undergrad to Med School

1. Being a medical student is twice the work of being an undergrad and only half of the fun. No, I’m just kidding — it’s none of the fun. 2. I hope you like reading. Ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha! Excuse me while I jump out of a high window with the five weighty text books I’ve been assigned this semester strapped to my torso. 3. You have no idea where the hell anything on your campus is except the two or three buildings you have class in and the hospital. 4. Despite what you may have learned as an undergrad, Thursday night is a weeknight. You’re expected to wake up early and get stuff done the next day and everything. Crazy, right? 5. You’re also expected to refrain from drinking Sunday through Wednesday unless you just finished a set of exams—including day drinking. Seriously. 6. There’s a good chance that you’re a commuter student. Enjoy lugging 60 lbs of text books with you every day and dealing with gas prices/parking/public transportation. Remember that you are paying exorbitant amounts of money for these privileges. 7. Believe it or not, you actually have high expectations for the rigor and quality of your classes. Having a half-witted, drooling simpleton for a teacher has lost a bit of its luster, even if they are an easy grader. You find yourself wondering, “What did I get from this class?...

The Complete List of First Date Topics Med Students Should Avoid

As a med student, it can be difficult to fit dating into your busy schedule so you should take advantage of every opportunity. If you avoid these topics, there is less of a chance that you will completely screw it up… • What our kids would look like, hypothetically, if we were to have kids, no pressure or anything haha, just making conversation over here, but seriously why bother with this whole charade if we have incompatible genes that are destined to created hideous children with weak chins and foreheads large enough to mount flat-screens on?. • A brutally frank appraisal of what to expect from your naked body. • Goiters, and how you have become obsessed with them/have a set of textbook goiter pictures in your room somewhere. • How dating makes you hyper-aware of the way people instinctively inspect and evaluate each other based on their most superficial qualities, and how that makes you feel less like a person and more like a vestigial structure, and a rather problematic one at that, like maybe an appendix. • Oxycodone, the merits of. • How exciting it is that your date’s name is Gregor, because, for reasons you’d prefer not to get in to (and involve that time right after your genetics final, when you headed straight to the bar to drown your sorrows…), you already happen to have...

We Can Be The Writers We Want To Read

We can be the writers we want to read. We aren’t sentenced to a lifetime of consuming; we can create. We can carve messages into the tree trunks and picnic tables that dot our landscape. I really think you should start writing; yes, you. You right there. Start jotting down your deepest fears and anxieties, or reminisce about the greatest night of your life, or write a story where Regis Philbin kills a drifter just to see if he can get an erection. Hey, instead of writing your idea, maybe you’d rather make it into a song or a drawing or a movie or a stylish hat. Whatever you want – I chose writing because you don’t need cameras and guitars, or even pants or anything. Never underestimate something that can be done lying down. Me, I started writing because I felt out of sync with the world. I spent so much time consuming entertainment (movies, music, books, TV shows, articles, popsicle stick jokes, infomercials, SEGA Genesis video game manuals, etc.), yet I contributed nothing of my own. It was like studying for a test I’d never take – what was this all for? Would I ever make any practical use out of it? The answer is no — no, I would never make practical use out of my theories regarding the similar family dynamics between Full House’s Tanner...

Top 25 Things to Never Say When Someone Hands You Their Baby

1. So Basic… 2. Can I borrow that pacifier? I’m tripping so hard right now. 3. Isn’t it crazy that in 20 years, this little guy could be a Harvard graduate or just another dead junkie? 4. Can I breastfeed it? 5. The doctor said I can never have one of these because my insides are rotten. 6. OMG he is so cute I could LITERALLY sell him to a Cambodian businessman for at least 10% above market value. 7. Is it cool if I vape right now? 8. (Weeping) He is not the chosen one! He is not the chosen one… 9. Babies remind me of ‘Nam. The screaming – my God, the screaming… 10. Ooh she looks just like a little Paul Schaffer. 11. (Into sleeping baby’s face, in a style reminiscent of late-90s Budweiser TV ads) Wazzzzzzupppppp!!!!! 12. Isn’t it wonderful that this magical creature that you spend every waking minute taking care of will one day blame you for all of its problems? 13. It’s so lifelike! 14. Aww he’s got his father’s stupid, little beady eyes! 15. Just to warn you, I do have Flavor Flav disease – at any given moment, I may throw my hands in the air and wave them like I just don’t care. 16. Honestly…how did you make this? 17. Why are you parading this little fool around? He...

Battling Social Anxiety on the Front Lines

“Incredibly engaging and very relatable to much of medical school. Many students go through something similar to this.” – AlmostDocs  Anxiety is a very convincing argument for “Ignorance is bliss.” One of the most hazardous potential side effects of self-awareness (certainly right up there with depression, addiction, and Instagram), anxiety is one of the myriad ways humanity conspires to keep itself miserable. These mental hang-ups are like a tax we must pay on the ability to walk upright and post pictures of our brunch online. The work we put in to withhold our own happiness is truly astonishing. There are times when I look around at the wonderful life I’ve worked so hard to secure and think, “Remember that time in high school you slipped in the cafeteria in front of the popular table? You fucking loser.” Yes, I still obsess over trivial embarrassments from ten years ago. Yes, I still obsess over potential embarrassments that will likely never happen. I’ve dealt with social anxiety since my mid-teens and it’s generally been a lonely and rather brutal struggle. But I’ve emerged from the other end with something approaching catharsis and contentment. Like depression, anxiety is self-perpetuating, the proverbial snake devouring its own tail. Unfortunately, awareness of the absurdity of your worries provokes only further despair and a horrifying meta-anxiety. You are anxious about X despite the objective knowledge that X is...

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