Deadheads love acronyms almost as much as digital culture in general loves acronyms (JGBheads: TWLWMYD or TWYDTTYD?). I'm coining one of my own, based on a little note Dick Latvala made in his notebook about 1/22/78, a favorite show of mine and maybe even a candidate for the mercurial top 10. This particular show had an enormous impact on me as a teenaged listener (of which I will write about more someday), and an old post by my late friend Tim, aka skobud (RIP) on the Transitive Axis forum called attention to it:
"I love where it is written in red pen that THIS IS ALL NONSENSE; I'VE LEARNED BETTER and [Dick is] putting a line through all of these shows: '11/4, 6/77, 5/8/77, 9/3/77, 6/8&9/77, 1/13 SEEM AS POTENT.' You just gotta love a thought process like that. Like -- fuck it, what was I thinking? I know better now."
Not to overstate what may be obvious, but that way of thinking is so key, so integral to active engagement in whatever it is that you love to do. Everyone inevitably gets settled in their ways. We hunker down into little mental ruts and our minds seek to resolve whatever cognitive dissonances crop up when our preconceptions are challenged. And here is Dick, the archetypical Dead Freak, feverishly scribbling his responses to the music that he loves, holding it all up against his highest standards of quality that he uses as high water marks, then revising and crossing the whole thing out. It's interesting (to me) that, even at this early date, shows like Colgate, Cornell, and Englishtown -- shows that are now so canonized that they're identifiable by single words -- were already being touted as all-timers. Dick may have been a sentimental dude (aren't all Deadheads?), but not here: all those other heavy-hitters are just as potent as 1/22/78? Nope. 1/22 clobbers all of them. That stuff about Colgate, Cornell, and Englishtown is all nonsense. I've learned better.
So I'm proposing my own acronym for these moments of reflection when we get out the scalpel and go to work on our own preconceptions: TIANILB (it even kind of rolls off the tongue: "tia-nilby." maybe? not really? not really). Who knows? If I ever finally take to Twitter or whatever supercedes Twitter, you may someday catch me blasting out a revelatory proclamation of greatness for an unheralded gem of a show.