Ah, to be imbued with the powers of the Baker Street irregulars . . .
Not as a dirty little street urchin depending upon Sherlock's shillings to feed the family or one's self. And not as an investiture-carrying member of The Baker Street Irregulars of New York. But a true Baker Street irregulars as defined by Sherlock Holmes himself with the words:
"They can go everywhere, see everything, overhear everyone."
He was speaking about the young corps of irregulars as a whole, of course. Individually, no one of them could go everywhere, etc. But as a whole, they could and they did.
If I could, indeed, go everywhere, yesterday I would have teleported out of the office and to Maryland, where the Scintillation of Scions was just starting to summon its energies. Minneapolis in August, New York in January . . . if the ability to pop in for an evening or a day without having to arrange an entire trip (with all the requisite time allotments and delegation of responsibilities needed to be away) were something one could pick up with a magical shilling, oh, the places I would go.
And this weekend, it would be the Scintillation of Scions in Hanover, Maryland. It's going to be an excellent time, because gathered Sherlockians having a bad time has been a very, very rare thing in my experience. In fact, over the course of over thirty years, nothing springs readily to mind. Oh, there might have been dinners that didn't taste very good or an over-heated, over-populated room on occasion -- minor discomforts -- but the camaraderie and conversations always win out in my memories.
"But, Brad," one might think, "you're an overly-opinionated lout of a blogger, who surely has heated disputes in large assemblages of Sherlockians, and is sure to get bopped in the beezer!" (Hey, I said "might" . . . somebody out there might have "beezer" in their lexicon.)
And that's the cool part. I've always had a few incendiary opinions and a sometimes thoughtless manner of expressing them, but my experiences with my fellow Sherlockians in travels from New York to New Mexico have never been anything but good. So while I'm a bit envious of my friends who are having a great time at the Scintillation today, the undertone of that envy is the certainty that they are having a good time. And that makes me happy.
Because, as I said, that's the thing about Baker Street irregulars, past and present. No one of us can go everywhere, see everything, and overhear everyone, as much as we might try. That would require superhuman abilities, including the power to be multiple places at once. But as a group, we can be just about everywhere a Sherlockian needs to be, and thanks to the wonders of our modern networked society, that means getting juicy tidbits in real time more than ever before. We have our irregulars, even if we can't have the powers of the whole.
And as Sherlock Holmes did with the first Baker Street irregulars, we can hear what they have to say and use their leads to follow up in days to come.