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/

52 Steps to Having the Best ‘Last Summer’

(1) Pledge that your “last” summer will be the best summer of your life. This time, you’ll take chances, meet new people, and make good on all the plans you’ve regretfully fallen through on in past summers, knowing full-well that this is your last chance. (2) Start by finally making good on your goal of getting to the beach at every opportunity – time to relax, lie out, and catch some rays. (3) Ever notice how any time you get sunburned, it’s literally the only thing anyone you run into can talk about? And how they always act like they’re pointing out something you haven’t noticed, like, “Wow, uh, did you get some sun?” or, “Hey, your skin looks really burnt and awful! Also, everyone at the office has been a little worried about you lately…are you doing okay?” LOL! (4) Sign up for volunteer work or research. Nothing is more satisfying than giving back to those in need. (5) Take a trip to the museum with a close friend who appreciates intellectual endeavors and the beauty of true art. Or just go by yourself – whatever! Being by yourself can be, like, totally cool sometimes. Sometimes you need to be by yourself for years and years and years and years. (6) Start taking a bath – every morning. There’s no more relaxing way to begin your day than with a nice, warm bath. Bring...

Long-Distance Relationships Mean Always Getting to Say Hello

Starting medical school is difficult. On a physical and biological level, the sleep deprivation and hours of studying and stress can leave you fatigued, and sometimes even physically ill. For some, leaving home means more than leaving the house in which you grew up, the college you attended, the family and friends who have supported you and given you the confidence to understand that through all the applications and interviews, everything would be alright. For a lucky few, that support also comes in the support of a significant other: That significant other who was able to make you feel that you were the number one applicant for the best medical school in the country, who consoled you after you accidentally said the wrong medical school’s name during your interview, and who hugged you when, despite all odds, you ended up with your white coat. But what happens when you have to say goodbye to that significant other and dive into the books?  We’ve said goodbye in driveways, bus stations, and airports, in parking lots and on street corners. Long distance relationships mean always having to say goodbye. I remember the end of the first visit: I watched her walk down the sidewalk as the bus pulled out of the station, yanking me from her receding figure. As the countdown to our next reunion was reset to a dauntingly high...

20 Ways to Make Graduation Ceremonies Better

1. Cut the valedictorian speech in half and give the remaining time to the student with the lowest GPA who still managed to graduate. These two probably have equally important life lessons to impart. 2. Sure, you can walk the stage and accept your diploma — if you don’t get abducted by the Temple Guards! 3. Instead of only recognizing the awards, scholarships, and honors bestowed upon graduates by professors, let’s include some student-voted awards, like “Most Undistinguished Track Record of Questionable Hookups” and “Outstanding Achievement in the field of Day Drinking.” 4. While graduation gowns are part of one of my favorite fashion groups (“Clothes You May be Unexpectedly Naked Under”), they fall well behind trench coats and robes. Trench coats may attract sex offenders, so let’s switch to robes. Graduates can feel free to make selections from the Hugh Hefner or Ric Flair collections. 5. But let’s scrap the weird academic robes professors wear that make them look like extras from a Hogwarts faculty meeting. 6. My best friend growing up had a dusty VHS titled “Monster Truck Bloopers.” Anytime we got bored I begged him, “Come on man, let’s watch that tape of monster truck bloopers!” But he always brushed it off, saying that the video wasn’t as cool as it sounded. I mean, how could “Monster Truck Bloopers” possibly not be extraordinarily entertaining? At the...

An Instructional Guide to Pregaming

Pregame (v.) – To drink before an event (which may or may not also involve drinking), typically at a rapid and immoderate pace. Pregaming is a based on the theory “Too much of a good thing is an even better thing.” Or, as George Burns once said, “It only takes one drink to get me loaded. Trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or fourteenth.” Now that classes are finally winding down, hopefully some of you (mostly first years) are going to spend a little less time in the library and a little more time being drunk. Not surprisingly, the principles of pregaming generally aren’t embraced by society outside the realm of drinking. Recall, for example, your mother reprimanding you for snacking before dinner, warning that “you’ll ruin your appetite!” I suppose the best analogous would be stretching before exercise. However, there are discrepancies: First of all, the idea behind stretching is to warm up your muscles and prevent yourself from straining or pulling any of them, as well as to improve performance by preparing your body for exertion. Conversely, pregaming doesn’t exactly prepare your body for drinking – it’s not like it “loosens up” your liver or “stretches out” your esophagus. It also doesn’t improve drinking performance, unless you assess high-performance drinking by the quantity of bad decisions you make or the quality of your resulting...

Procrastination at Its Finest: These Wikipedia Pages Will Steal The Next Hour Of Your Life

Like any serious procrastinator, I know the dangers of Wikipedia: what starts off as a quick fact-checking mission inevitably ends with hours wasted reading about Michael Jackson’s pet monkey Bubbles or checking out the list of sexually active popes. But Wikipedia is really just being irresponsible with their amazing Unusual Articles page, an exhaustive list of their most bizarre entries. After spending the past several days ignoring the demands of my daily life, I present to you some of the strangest things I found. Good luck studying after this… 1. Kan-CHO!!! Looking to prank your friends, preferably in a way that will leave both of you irreparably traumatized? How about Kancho, the Japanese prank “performed by clasping the hands together in the shape of an imaginary gun and attempting to insert the extended index fingers sharply into an unsuspecting victim’s anus, often while exclaiming ‘Kan-CHO!’” Sounds like a great way to liven up the group study sessions! 2. The Laughing Epidemic As someone who likes to smoke a lot of weed and read Philip K. Dick, I’m fascinated by mass hysteria and shared psychological illnesses. Therefore I was riveted by the Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962, a Tanzanian laughing plague that started, like any good hysterical outburst, at an all-girls boarding school (I can only imagine the CW Network was prominently involved). The epidemic affected a large portion of the students and the school...

9 Things I Miss About AOL

1. Bad Screen Names For a large majority of twenty-somethings, there’s nothing more embarrassing than recalling your first screen name. Created during a period in your life when you possessed a truly stunning inability to tell the difference between lifelong interests and temporary infatuations with passing fads, most early screen names reflect interests that we’d prefer to forget. I know my Buddy List circa 1998 featured testaments for everything from KoRn to The Undertaker to the number 69. I even remember with particularly horrific glee one friend from my blindingly white suburban town who christened himself as a SnoopSoldier. Creating a screen name was an important step in our adolescent development. By choosing that name, you weren’t just publicly declaring your support for a given band or movie or sports team, you were actively incorporating them into your own identity. At least when it came to the online world, you actually became a SnoopSoldier; after all, random people in chat rooms had no idea you looked more like Frankie Muniz than a gangsta rapper. Just imagine how terrifying it would be if when you met all your new med school friends, you had to introduce yourself with your first ever screen name…   2. The Thrill of Realizing That Other People Share Your Bizarre Interests Before the internet, if you liked something really esoteric or random, like Japanese Death Metal or...

28 Inspirational Quotes That Will Help You Hack Life

  All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you’ll be quite a lot! – Dr. Seuss What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years? – Ke$ha It is a logic that many drug abusers would understand. It goes like this: I feel bad, and drugs make me feel good, although they are also why I feel bad. But since they make me feel good now, and bad later, I will worry about later when the time comes. – Roger Ebert I am not proud of the fact that major ingredients of my emotional history are available for purchase today at CVS. – Nicholson Baker I think it goes without saying that pretty much everything I’ve taught you should be prefaced with a ‘No homo.’ – Jesus Christ Now the standard cure for one who is sunk is to consider those in actual destitution or physical suffering – this is an all-weather beatitude for gloom in general and fairly salutary day-time advice for everyone. But at three o’clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn’t work – and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day. – Jackie Chan I discovered that if one looks a little closer at this...