Saturday, January 12, 2013

To end at the beginning.

This week has been full of a lot of little learnings. Some practical, some philosophical, but learnings nonetheless. So many that the occasional pertinent fact might have slipped by me completely, were it not for the keen mind of my friend John Holliday.

The end of a life that was heartily Sherlockian has moments one becomes familiar with after some time in the hobby. The "standing on the terrace" moments. The stories of quirky adventures on the Holmes trail. The raising of a glass. The disposition of a collection. But in these days following the end of my longtime partner in crime, I've found one more way to wind up a Sherlockian life, which Bob sold me on by example.

The Lascar, as he was known in Sherlockian circles, was painstaking to a fault when something was important to him. And he was very specific about every action to be taken when his days were done. One of those, which he gained advice on from Chester, Illinois Sherlockian funeral director Michael McClure, was donating to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois. And Bob didn't donate money.

Bob donated Bob.

Medical training needs good men and women, and not just as students. Instead of going with a casket or urn,  many a solid citizen goes with a sheet and a medical school all the time. And it's not only an important aid to those who we depend upon for our very lives, it's appreciated. The admiration Bob got from a very pretty young ER doc when she found out is something any man would take after his final moments. But even that isn't the most notable thing about it.

As friend Holliday reminded me after reading Bob's obit, the Canon of Sherlock Holmes started in a teaching hospital, where Sherlock Holmes was known to beat a body or two to test post-mortem bruises. Being the object of study, practice, and experimentation is not all flowers and flute music, whether it's Holmes working on you or George Clooney. But it is one of the most truly Sherlockian ways to wind up your time on this planet. To end at the place where Sherlock and John Watson began?

I'm sold.

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