It began today with a simple Twitter poll.
Many Sherlockians on Twitter demanded a third option, straddling those two options somehow or cherry-picking the best of both worlds. But the rigorous laws of philosophical question dichotomy is what makes such tortures fun. I've long played these games with co-workers over the years, but never thought to try it on Sherlockians, where our specific interests hold especially magical quandries like the one above. Because it's all about sacrificing something you love for gaining something that you might judge of greater value, and we do love things as Sherlockians. It's a part of our reason for being.
Here's a simple example: "A wealthy Sherlockian bequeaths you one of the few copies of Beeton's Christmas Annual with A Study in Scarlet in it. Another wealthy Sherlockian, seeking to make his own copy more rare, offers you a rare treatment you can get nowhere else that will add thirty full and healthy years to your live, a life you can live Sherlockianly, if you burn your copy of Beeton's."
Now, don't give me a "But can't I . . . ?" or try to outsmart the devil of either-or. Those are your two choices, burn the Beeton's or miss out on thirty years of fun. Personally, that Beeton's is toast, but I'm wicked enough to have burned a book once or twice. You might be a little more of a devout book-lover.
Or maybe that one isn't hard enough. Hmmm, what would test a Sherlockian even more? Let's go for the more media-focused side of our fandom.
"A genie offers to take you back in time and will give you complete control and script approval over Moffat and Gatiss for BBC Sherlock from the start. But the genie has a huge crush on Jonny Lee Miller and you know for certain he's going to swap out Cumberbatch for Miller. Don't you take the genie up on his offer?"
I don't know, that's still just not quite there for me. A good quandry has to really make you squirm, make you wish the question had never even been asked. Test your morals and make you question your inner being.
"Conan Doyle is trying to communicate with the dead via medium and accidentally contacts you. You sense the ethereal link will only last a few minutes, and your cell phone rings with a call from a star-making, yet temperamental publisher whom you know is calling to say he'll publish your novel, but he is well known for only giving one chance with such offers. You must choose between Doyle and your future success, even though no one will ever believe you talked to Conan Doyle."
Still too easy for my tastes, but it's late and I'm almost out of steam. Have any better ideas? Or is this just too cruel a past-time for a follower of a non-evil hero like Sherlock Holmes?
One more quandry!