Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The head llama

Apple is about to release seventy new emojis for iPhones and like products, and although there are a few that jump out at you for some little bit of Sherlockian significance, none is so eye-catching as a llama, right there in the midst of the new animals included.

A llama.

Sherlock Holmes had a very interesting relationship with llamas.

Like the "bull pup" Watson had in A Study in Scarlet, Sherlock's llama has been causing Sherlockians to make quizzical faces for a century or more. As Ogden Nash famously once wrote, "The one-L lama, he's a priest. The two-L llama, he's a beast. And I will bet my silk pajama: there isn't any three-L lllama."

As for Sherlock Holmes, we know "I travelled for two years in Tibet, therefore, and amused myself by visiting Lhasa and spending spending some days with the head Llama."

Now, Sherlock Holmes spoke those words, so we have to attribute that extra "L" to Watson's transcription. But we also know how well Sherlock Holmes trained his friend to look at the small details of the world around him, so it just doesn't seem like Watson to mix up a lama and a llama. Or the head priest and a head llama.

A head llama.

Roll that phrase around your mind and see what potential meanings it offers. While Watson just wrote down that single line about the head llama, perhaps there were other lines not written, where Sherlock Holmes went into more specific detail about that head llama. Watson had to be curious, didn't he? Your best friend/maybe-lover who has been away for years doesn't just come back and drop the words "head llama" without you finding out more about that experience.

I mean, come on . . . head llama. There's a story there.

Sherlock Holmes spent days with the head llama. Days.

Watson had to want to know about that. And in all that time, he might have once asked "And how do you spell llama, again?"

T'were "The Adventure of the Empty House" to be remade with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, I would expect to see a pantomime montage of Holmes mimicking a head llama's actions as he recounted the tale, but I doubt we'll see that level of Canonical minutiae in the undoubted sequels to that box office smash. (Poke.) Still . . . head llama.

It's a head llama, you see. Or maybe you don't. And maybe that's for the best.

Best call it a day. A day.

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