T.I.L.T. #127, Friday, 6th February, 2015
T.I.L.T. 2.0. – T.I.L.T. LIVES!
Wow. Where to begin? Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s hard to believe that my last T.I.L.T. was seven years ago in the spring of 2008. Now it’s 2015 and another spring approaches. I just reread my last TILT and it was like looking at a picture in an old forgotten photo album, a snapshot of time of where I was back then in my life. That younger guy in his late thirties had no idea what was coming, not a clue what the guy now in his mid-forties could tell him about where his life would take him from that last TILT in 2008 to today in 2015. Feels like a time machine. Back to the Future has already come and gone. Think about it: where were you seven years ago? Did your dreams come true?
Well, my faithful readers, faithful listeners, who I have so long neglected during this seven-year T.I.L.T. drought — forgive me! — before we get too reminiscent about the good old days before the world economic crisis when good-old George W. was still in the White House, I must re-introduce T.I.L.T. to a new generation of readers and listeners.
What is T.I.L.T.? It’s my world-famous blogcast that came out weekly from 2005 to 2008 and then stepped into a black hole only to reappear today in 2015. It’s world-famous because back then my family lived on two sides of the ocean — still does. It started as a weekly e-mail column, then appeared in blog format online, and eventually I started recording T.I.L.T. verbatim as a podcast because some people prefer to listen than read, hence, T.I.L.T. is a ‘blogcast’.
But was does T.I.L.T. stand for? If you’re only listening to this and cannot see the full stops between the T and the I and the L and the T, T.I.L.T. is an acronym. And to explain it I will quote from the very first T.I.L.T.:
“So, T.I.L.T! is born! Now, I hear you asking, “T.I.L.T! What’s it stand for?” And, well, you choose! See, originally I thought, “This Is London Theatre!”. But then I realized that, hey, I may be an aspiring playwright but damn if I ain’t worked in a theatre in forever and “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” There are infinitely more trivially fascinating things in a city such as London. So then I thought, “This Is London Town!” or better yet, “Texan In London Town!”
But then it hit me — what if I move? Or take a trip? Do I want to limit myself to London? Certainly there are countless trivialities waiting to be mined beyond the ‘confines’ of London? So then I thought “Taking In Life’s Trivialities!” Which sounds kind of grandiose but hey, all I know is I like the sound of T.I.L.T.!
Besides, the word ’tilt’ itself is a wonderful thing. If you have never looked it up in a good dictionary, do so — you will be surprised how many meanings it has which I think lend themselves for such a trivial column as this! Of course, if you have any better suggestions for the acronym T.I.L.T. – please feel free to send in your suggestions!”
My, my, that was almost ten years ago in 2005 when I was living in England. Boy that guy had even less of an idea of how he would become the guy of 2008 in Germany writing the last T.I.L.T. than that guy did of the guy now still in Germany in 2015 trying to bring T.I.L.T. back to life. I think T.I.L.T. might really stand for “Time Is Life’s Test” because every passing day, every passing year, life keeps testing us all to see just what we are made of and how we stand the test of time.
Think about it on a global scale: what would the world of spring 2008 think of the world of spring 2015? The global economic crisis came and more or less went with stocks and unemployment rising and falling like an endless seesaw ride. Bush II left, Obama came, and now Bush III and Clinton II stand lurking in the wings of world history. The ‘war on terror’ was not won by large armed forces sent to Iraq and Afghanistan and is now spread around countless remote corners of the world being fought by remote-controlled drones in a virtual-meets-reality-video-game-like tragedy. Al-Qaeda has been upstaged by ISIS. The ‘war on drugs’ has been won or lost depending on which side you stand with the legalization of marijuana in many states. Global warming only got warmer. Gay marriage became mainstream. Health insurance became ‘gotta have’ and Guantanamo Bay looks set to become the next Vegas resort with built-in permanent residents in a soon to be reborn Cuba! And last but not least, phones became smart and gadgets of all kinds are becoming wearable fashion items connected to ‘the cloud’. It really is Back to the Future these days — please hurry up with the flying cars!
What about my life over the last seven years? How have I stood the test of time? Well, I won’t get into all the details of my personal and professional life since who really needs to hear about the dirty laundry of other people than celebrities? But the short version is: stopped being an English teacher; started working at a university as a residential manager; became a workaholic; built a student theater; got promoted; had a blast; had a mid-life crisis; got divorced (farewell former ‘lovely-better-half’, may all your Starbucks lattes be grande!); wallowed in self-pity and loathing; worked more; built a bar and music club; got promoted again; fell in love again; played more, tried to work less; got married again (hello ‘best-little-wife-ever’ – may all your home-cooked experiments be tasty!); and am about to be promoted again as I try to build a better campus and off-campus life and begin to dream of finding a way back to home in the USA before another seven years flies by. And somehow inexplicably gained about twenty-five pounds. Could it be the bottomless German beer and bratwurst? Or is it all the tasty home-cooked experiments of the best-little wife-ever? Hmmm. Who knows, but hey, call me fat and happy, OK?
Despite stopping T.I.L.T. for so long, one of the main things that has not changed and has stood the test of time is my ambition to succeed at creative writing in some artistic and professional way. I may still not be published, but I have written a collection of short stories, have nearly finished a novel, and am determined more than ever to finally put my ‘stuff’ out there. One of the main things I have learned over the last seven years is that if I really visualize, and believe, and set a concrete deadline where people will show up expecting to see some results, I can actually move mountains. If I can succeed at my day job again and again, driving countless productions and projects and participants and audiences of all kinds, then I should be able to succeed at any creative ambition, right?
Ironically, it seems that I have known this all along and nothing has changed since my last T.I.L.T. where I unknowingly prophesied the same truth when I wrote:
“Lesson To Self: The only way to fail is to believe you failed.”
God knows I have proven that true too many times with many failures large and small especially when it comes to writing. But I have also proven the reverse true in many successes, so I guess it all balances out. That is the essence of T.I.L.T. after all, first you lean one way, then the other, and so on. Maybe T.I.L.T. stands for “Thriving In-between Life’s Tilts”.
Until next week, faithful readers and listeners, may you live long and T.I.L.T.!