Romans 8:24-25: For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
In the beginning, there was The Internet. Its origins, we now know, were as complex, if not more, as the creation of man — and the results of said creation were, we dare say, even more unfathomable. History tells us that for the first twenty years or so, the only thing on the Internet — apart from secret shame-filled rooms of perverts and Christians talking to one another, and a place called CDNow that, for a time in the 1990s, gave every otherwise unemployable musician and poet in Philadelphia a job in the service of selling something called a compact disc — all there really was, was just, simply, this: A dog riding a skateboard.
That dog could have never known that he was clogging up the whole of The Internet, cockblocking the Arab Spring and allowing a too-sleepy-for-too-long print media to stay in business. It just wasn’t on his radar. He was a dog, riding a skateboard. His name was Tillman. And eventually, Tillman went the way of all of us who find ourselves in the spotlight at some point: He got an agent, the agent got him a TV show, and now, he is on TV. When the going gets weird, the man once said, the weird turn pro.
Even so, Tillman remains both an inspiration to all, as well as a beloved figure to dogs and skateboards and, perhaps most importantly, people who love dogs and skateboards. In the absence of a Pope, in the twilight of religion itself, and in a time where even the notion of authority itself is questionable, Tillman makes pilgrimages to places around the globe to visit the spiritually destitute among us (which is all of us) and spread a simple message of hope.
Tillman just visited Philadelphia, and after the jump, we can show you pictures of that.
As we showed you above, here is Tillman riding his skateboard at FDR Park, showing what you already knew: Dude can get down.
While it may be said that Tillman’s tour route of Philadelphia was one of the more hackneyed ones we’ve seen a celebrity take — it was straight up cheesesteak route, and he didn’t even attempt to Bourdain it up by going to Pho 75 or whatever — we should also be mindful of the fact that, when on a Pope-like tour for the spiritual easement of the masses, nobody really cares if you can hang with Han from Han Dynasty. Above, Tillman visits Pat’s Steaks because he obviously does not go in for the racist dogmeat across the street. Or at least, not before he’s had a few whiskeys.
Here, Tillman takes part in that most Philadelphian of pastimes: Inviting himself on a horse-and-buggy with some filthy Americans who’ve never read the Constitution.
And finally, you know Tillman had to go there: After having a moment of quiet reflection in the Cy Twombly room and an angry exchange with a museum guard about why there’s no more Alex Katz canvases on display (“He is only the most exciting representational modern painter of our time!,” he blurted to the dispassionate security detail assigned to him), Tillman had a handler carry him out to the top of “The Rocky Steps” to strike this triumphant pose. Because like any president or the Dalai Lama, Tillman really knows what is at stake here: It’s not about him, per se — it’s about what his story can inspire in you.
The Philadelphia episode of Tillman’s TV show, “Who Let The Dogs Out,” will air this Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET on Hallmark Channel.
[Photos: Natural Balance/Betsy Martin]