Thursday, May 4, 2017

Surviving the taking of a professor off the Reichenbach Falls.

Well, Star Wars may be hogging this day with it's awful pun reasons for celebration (Seriously, "May the fourth be with you!" as the reason for your celebration day? C'mon. And, oh, yeah, I love Star Wars and puns, so fight me.) but a Sherlockian knows what this day really marks. (And if I've seemed a bit aggressive already, it is the perfect mood for this day. Attend.)

Today is the day our hero, Sherlock Holmes, took down his one true nemesis. And by "took down," I mean killed him. Killed him for being who he was.

Our view of this particular murder in Sherlock Holmes's resume is colored by a couple of things: a.) The self-defense argument. (But c'mon, you've seen the Paget drawing of the professor, right?) and b.) The fact that everyone thought Sherlock Holmes himself died during that battle. (If everyone thinks you gave your life for something and then you come back, well, you can't be tried again for something you already served a death sentence for. Sorta.)

So. Throwing our enemies over steep cliffs into rocky waterfall basins . . . good thing or bad thing?

I feel like, in this day of not actually facing most people we communicate with, we make enemies a lot more quickly. Somebody tweets something awkwardly and doesn't really convey their true intent (or maybe they do) and we feel stabbed in whatever place suits the situation, the heart, the back, the family, or friend. Someone seems to be trying to set the Baker Street rooms on fire.

And like new gods, we tap a finger on a "block" or "unfriend" or "mute" and banish that person from our virtual realm. And, like Sherlock Holmes, we take ourselves out of their realm, too. Holmes may not have died at Reichenbach Falls, but he had to give up London, Watson, and his world for years as his price for blocking Moriarty once and for all.

Unlike Sherlock Holmes, however, we do not get to come back to a London where the person we had our little issue with is no longer there. We don't get to bemoan our lack of anyone to engage as an antagonist of their level. (Unless something really serious happened, and somebody actually did die in the interim. And it was not your fault.)

Live long enough and you reach an appreciation for your friends that grows with time. You also get to have a few regrets about those people you threw off Reichenbach Falls, just as Holmes did. (Sure, he was more than justified in ridding the world of Moriarty. Doesn't mean he didn't miss the man.)

May 4 is an odd holiday for Sherlockians. We don't really want to celebrate Sherlock Holmes's death, even if it wasn't his true end. We don't even really want to celebrate the death of a man of Professor Moriarty's achievements. (After all, we never really saw him being mean to anybody, did we?) So how should we commemorate this very special day, if we can't travel to the site in Switzerland?

Perhaps remembering those we may have tossed off the falls along the way, in whatever large or small way we did that, have a few regrets, maybe contemplate how we might pull them back up . . . or pick a true villain who actually needs to go off the Falls and start investigating that possibility.

I don't know. I'm rambling today on a definite lack of sleep, so take what you'd like from this, and if I wind up splashing in the pool at the base of Reichenbach, maybe it'll wake me up a bit.

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