Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy father's day, Sherlock Holmes!

Are the sons of Sherlock Holmes paying a call on their old man today, in that special place where all such titans still dwell?

Nero Wolfe, Auguste Lupa, Scott Adler, Clyde Miller Wynant, Mycroft Adler Norton, John Hamish Adler . . . most of Holmes's boys seem to have come via poor Irene Adler, who probably had to work hard to keep her stage figure after that lot. Unless they were just one or two lads with multiple names.

But that is old school Sherlockian thinking, and I've probably missed a Mary Russell pregnancy or a daughter by some Victorian incarnation of Molly Hooper. (We can retrofit new Canon into old, can't we?) If dear Sherlock was that potent, he probably produced some girls in his line, and my five minutes of research was just too lazy to turn them up.

Whether or not any or all of those kids are wishing Sherlock Holmes a happy Father's Day, I would certainly like to add my own compliments of the season to the list. For Sherlock Holmes has always been a little bit of a remote father figure to me.

My own father died when I was thirteen years old, under circumstances I sometimes wistfully wish I could turn into a Sherlock Holmes story, instead of the grim reality that it was. And during those following formative years when a boy is growing to manhood, looking around for role models to chart his course, I didn't really connect with any of the adult males wandering through my life . . . except for the ones I saw in books.

They had integrity, will power, courage, and drive. And foremost among them was a fellow named Sherlock Holmes. He was a man of many talents, who raised the life of his friend Watson to a level beyond the ordinary. Dedicated to finding scientific answers, hidden truths of the human ocean, and exposing superstitious silliness, Sherlock Holmes has always been a fellow to look up to, both then and now. Sure, he's not really a loving paternal figure, but not everybody can be Santa Claus.

And Sherlock Holmes is not a guy who will steer you wrong. Such advice as "When one tries to rise above Nature, one is liable to fall below it," has come in very handy over the years.

Perhaps I'm still not an exemplary human being for Holmes's role in my life, but hey, who among us did turn out perfect? "We can but try," as the big guy used to say.

So a very happy Father's Day, Mr. Sherlock Holmes! I hope those swarms of offspring Irene Adler went to all the trouble to deliver are treating you well.

1 comment:

  1. There's a daughter in Leah Scheier's Secret Letters, and she's not by way of the inimitable Ms. Adler.