Thursday, March 31, 2016

221B Con countdown and Watson is making me nervous.

Less than twenty-four hours before 221B Con, and I am sorely troubled.

It's Watson, you see.

Selena Buttons, the head of the John H. Watson Society, has tweeted a picture of the "Watsonian" badge ribbons she'll be carrying into the con, showing her society's Watson pride. And I'm making sure of a few Canonical facts for the panel I'll be on Sunday to talk about Watson's marital lives. Yes, "lives."

And Watson is troubling me. Back when we were all letting Nigel Bruce sway our thoughts about Watson, as well as Doyle's famous film quote that he was "a rather stupid fellow," it was easy to let the conflicting dates in Watson's case records slide. If the good doctor was a little bit of a doofus, those willy-nilly dates were no big deal. But times have changed.

These days, we understand that Watson was no dummy. He was a pretty bright guy. So when he goes to the trouble to specify a particular year and a particular month in a case, we now have to assume he knows what he's talking about. That he was either telling us these things because they were true, or because he wanted us to believe that they were true. And if those dates are anything close to true, John H. Watson had wives, plural. And not just a couple.

Like Selena Buttons and the stalwarts of her society, the Sherlockians of old were big fans of Watson. Thought he was a virtuous, monogamous chap and all that. But when you look at those case dates and the married/not married on-off switch that seems to be Watson's marital status, one starts to become suspicious of just how good a guy he was.

I mean, that wife in "The Man with the Twisted Lip" . . . the one who called him "James." We can say she was having an affair with Moriarty (because he was so cute, right?) or that his middle initial "H" was from the Scottish version of James, "Hamish," and his wife decided to pet-name him the translated-to-English version of it (Huh?), but that all seems like we're doing crazy justification gymnastics just to ignore the most obvious reason for it: "James" was what his wife thought his name truly was, as it was the name he used with her from day one.

Yes, I'm saying John H. Watson might have married at least one wife under an assumed name. Ever wonder why he was so excited to write a whole second novelette about Mormon bigamy in his first published work? Like maybe he was really fascinated by that possibility, to the point of trying it himself? Man, what kind of scoundrel would that guy be? Who would even have him for a room-mate, unless it was somebody who said things like "Women are never to be entirely trusted?" Dark rumors start to swirl around a guy like that. Dark rumors indeed.

What if Watson wasn't entirely a good guy with this whole wives thing? And I could potentially be discussing this in front of people with "WATSONIAN" ribbons proudly displayed on their con badges? This could turn as riotous as a Donald Trump rally! Where's my Secret Service protection!

High noon on Sunday, Sherlockians, Watsonians, and Morstanians. Oh, no. I had forgotten about the Morstanians. I am in so much trouble . . . .


  1. Maybe Watson is like 'The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker,' (without all the kids) who wasn't a bad guy, just liked to always have a wife around.

  2. I really enjoyed that panel a lot -- and you did a great job of presenting a theory that I would never have considered before. (But it makes a certain amount of sense too!) Thank you!