Saturday, December 22, 2018


There's a thing that people, especially Sherlock Holmes, do in the original Canon that you don't hear a lot about people doing in our everyday lives. Maybe it's just one of those Victorian words that's fallen out of fashion, but I don't know . . . it just seems to fit a certain feeling so well.

It's a big box office time at the movies, and with big movies, of late, come superheroes. Your Aquamen,  your Spider-men, your Autobots, and your Sherlock Holmeses. It's no coincidence that RDJ Sherlock and Will Ferrell Sherlock both have debuted on Christmas. It's a super time for super movies, and Sherlock Holmes is a super-character. And what do all of the most fun superheroes, including Sherlock Holmes, do in their powers?

They exult.

They all have that one glorious moment when they feel the marvelous abilities they have at their command and they exult. They scream "WOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOO!" They get a twinkle in their eye. They come to that one perfect realization best expressed with the words, "I've got this." It's a great moment, and we love movies that capture it in story.

Sherlock exulted a lot. He knew what he had, he enjoyed the rush of being who he was and doing what he was doing. It's one of the things we love about him, and we feel it right alongside him.

The problem with stories, however, is that we often start to think that those are the only place things like exulting happen. That they're the only place that special people with special abilities exist. And there's a reason for that: The people in stories are written into situations that perfectly match their special abilities. Sherlock Holmes gets to solve mysteries so well because, let's be honest, he was written with the needed skills to undo whatever problem needs to be undone. (Yes, he gets to fail, but those are just endearing trimmings to the tree.)

In our lives, we don't often get written into scenarios that line up perfectly with our special bag of tricks, even though every single one of us has that unique combination of personality and skills that could, theoretically, find a perfect situation as its match. But maybe just that thought is enough.

Maybe we should exult in our powers occasionally. Even when life is hard, and we have loss, frustration, and despair. Our best gifts are never the ones we get handed wrapped in paper at Christmas time. They're the ones that cost us time, pain, sorrow, and life. Sherlock Holmes didn't get what he got for free. The isolation, the big failures, the tragedies . . . those gifts of his had big price tags.

And yet, Sherlock Holmes could exult in his gifts every now and then. Which, as ever with Sherlock, can give us something to look at in our own day-to-day lives. And maybe do a little exulting of our own.

No comments:

Post a Comment