Tuesday, August 9, 2016

First quarter report: #TreasureOrTorture 2016

Well, August is here, and for the obsessive-compulsive Sherlockian, two competing frustrations are available . . . Pokemon GO and the annual John H. Watson Society Treasure Hunt. While the former might not seem quite as Sherlockian as Holmes rounding up malefactors, both offer the common, frustrating goal of "Gotta catch 'em all!"

With twenty-five percent of the month of August gone by, our team that still has no name does seem to be coming together well for this year's Hunt. Last year at this time, we were off to a late start, about to lose a team member, and the survivors were both knee-deep in their day job duties. This year, we've got four members and a shared document on Google Drive. Yet one thing remains the same: the opportunity to spend literally hours circling a single question apparently having something to do with Sherlock Holmes yet bafflingly phrased to make the answer as elusive as possible.

I mean, it's 2016, right? We can't just go "Why don't ghosts have jobs, get invited to their ex's parties, or have the same privilege as white males?" because you can go into a search engine, type in "ghosts" and immediately get the answer to all three. Questions now have to be search-proof, which also can make them a bit solution-proof. Also, we have to have Owen Dudley Edwards in the mix for some reason. And I didn't buy his book. I saw it, yes, but I didn't buy it.

And so we continue to cudgel our brains for answers. (Want to read more about cudgelling brains? Look it up with a search engine! But use "cudgelled my brains" because otherwise you'll wind up sending random variations on the phrase through the search, which . . . well, not that anyone is doing that this month. Honor and dignity in quiz-taking, you know!)

At the end of the first quarter of the month, our team is well over halfway done with the Treasure Hunt, though we've already hit a few questions that are being endlessly circled and remain problematic. Wandering randomly through the sixty cases of Sherlock Holmes (and beyond) does take you to some places you might have forgotten, and are happy to be reminded of, but one also starts to remember that making up quizzes is much more fun than taking quizzes . . . perhaps the reason my local society members used to fight so hard to win our quizzes, the winner always getting to make up the next one.

How are the other teams across the globe doing this year? Well, since we're not all meeting in Rio to do this in matching national uniforms with TV commentators, I don't really know. But I wish them well . . .

. . .  and continued sanity.

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