"We are faddy people, you know -- faddy but kind-hearted."-- Jephro Rucastle, "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches"
For today, ladies and gentlemen, on this very Sherlock Peoria stage, I am going to attempt to convince you that playing Pokemon GO is an actual Sherlock-Holmes-ish activity. Having spent the last evening in pursuit of said imaginary creatures across the real Peoria itself, I feel quite qualified to make the argument this morning.
First, and here is where my showman's ego really comes out, let me refer you to a marvelous old book recommended by the Sage of Sante Fe in his final list of one hundred books in a solid Sherlock collection . . . that book, The Elementary Methods of Sherlock Holmes by one Brad Keefauver. It's slightly hard to find, so I'll do some heavy quoting.
In Chapter 13 of Elementary Methods, entitled "The Sherlock Holmes Aerobic Workout," the oh-so-agreeable author presents the puzzle of Holmes keeping himself in condition and eliminates the detective's college activities, calisthentics, and weight-lifting as ongoing sources of that fitness. Keefauver then look to that Watsonian observation that Holmes "seldom bestirred himself save where there was some professional object to be served." And another quote from Holmes himself:
"It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London."
And how did Holmes learn of London so exactly? Walking. As Keefauver writes:
"A long walk through London was not just exercise. It was a business necessity. Just as the study of a map would help him prepare for a case in the country, a long walk through the city gained him readiness for cases that would take place nearer his home . . . .
"And the data-gathering walks through London had another benefit as well. They kept Holmes in condition. A well-paced walk has been found to be as healthful as more strenuous activities, and whether or not Holmes knew that, he seemed to take full advantage of it."
And what are Pokemon GO players doing out there? Learning about their cities as they track down Pokestops with GPS locations of significance. Last night I learned of about six pieces of Peoria that I had previously not observed . . . monuments, memorials, art . . . all while taking in some very Holmesian exercise on a pleasant evening.
"But, wait!" the beautiful Negativa Dreamkiller points out, "People are walking into traffic, off cliffs, and getting robbed out there, playing your stupid, stupid game!"
Can you think of any training MORE Sherlockian than increasing your powers of observation through hard knocks experience? Learning how to avoid falling off cliffs -- a skill Holmes was a master at -- and carrying your single-stick to fend off street-crime? There will always be Darwin award winners in every endeavor of life, but aren't you a Sherlock Holmes fan? You should already be well equipped to deal with a little thing like Pokemon GO.
And tracking down Tonga or the hound of the Baskervilles isn't a bit like stalking a Machop or a Growlithe? And Pokeballs are far more effective than an Eley's #2 and it's .22 caliber bullet (I've fired one, trust me.)
So, if you deign to go down the Pokemon GO rabbit hole for some adventures this weekend, don't worry about losing your Sherlockian street cred. It's as Holmesy as Holmesy can be.