Saturday, January 13, 2018

Welcome to Inadequacy Sherlockian-style!

One of the things I love about Sherlockians, with a few notable exceptions, is the lack of arrogance.

If you think about it, a certain humility comes naturally to the fan of Sherlock Holmes. No matter who we are, there was somebody who came before us at this point. No matter what we know, there's still so much more out there to find out. No matter what we've done, there's a thousand other things left to do.

The list of 221B Con panel topics came out this week, along with the online application form to get on one, and I've seen more than one con adept approaching the process feeling a bit daunted. And it makes sense, too. No matter how much expertise you have on any one topic, as you look at the list, you see the seeming hundreds you don't fit with. So by the time you get to that old friend of a topic, it's easy to feel a little "maybe I'm not as smart as I think I am . . . ."

And, on top of that, it's Big Sherlocking Weekend in the Big Apple, where mysteriously fabulous things are going on between those mysteriously fabulous people that seemingly all friends with every other Sherlockian. And some of them are getting a mysteriously fabulous honor for mysteriously fabulous reasons that surely everyone knows but us.

It's enough to make you go, "Dare I even call myself a Sherlockian?"

Okay, maybe not you. Maybe you're having a grand time somewhere this evening, or just watching Netflix before happily drifting off to sleep. But if you have even a whiff of those self-doubts, let me tell ya . . . .

Every year I go to 221B Con and sit in panel audiences in awe of the stuff being said by folks who never sat on a panel before. People who just love the topic they're talking about, and if it involves Sherlock Holmes in any way, they connect with other Sherlockians who often start to love some aspect of Sherlock that they didn't even think about before the con. What you love is what you learn most about, and when you start packing the favorite details in, some tasty new morsel is always there for another Sherlockian to enjoy.

So even if you really don't want to get out in front of an audience, it's fun to take a list like the 221B Con panel list, and just start making elimination passes at it. First run, shorten it to topics you at least know some little thing about. Second run, look at that short list a little harder, get to just the ones you care about enough to sit in the audience for. And then, on the third run, see what subjects you'd just enjoy talking about to another person for an hour. Chances are, there's somebody out there who would love to talk to you about that thing for an hour.

And that's what makes a Sherlockian, really. Everything else . . . the travels, the events, the ceremonial hoops . . . they're really all just there so we can talk to another Sherlockian for an hour or so. And if you've got that in you, well, you're just fine.

And, c'mon . . . you just read all the way to the end of this midnight ramble, which NO ONE would do if they weren't Sherlockian enough to tolerate this whole thing just to maybe . . . maybe . . . glean one more ounce of some potential Holmes insight.

So, go you. Me, I'm going to fall asleep now.

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