Tuesday, February 5, 2019

One way to be a better Sherlockian

Perusing the web at lunch today, I came across something written a month or so ago at which I took some umbrage. I don't know if we can use that word any more without sounding villainous, thanks to J.K. Rowling, but I found the piece rather annoying in that sort of way that makes one want to take up the lance, mount the charger, and ride straight at the source.

All of which is just the fah-ncy way of saying, yeah, I'm pissed, you're full of crap, and now you're going to get an ear-ful.

But we're Sherlockians, we've long loved to go fah-ncy with our verbiage, even when posing for the effortless-looking riposte designed to deliver a surgically precise cut with maximum sting. And that's really a healthy mechanism, because if you're spending some thought on your words, you're giving yourself time to cool down a bit, consider the damage, and maybe even realize that your target is a human being whose road might have not been pleasant in taking them to this disagreeable place at which you have just encountered them.

Words are very helpful that way, and Sherlockians are a people of words, even if we come to the fold from movies or television. (In fact, I would even argue that those who came from a recent television show may have produced more words about Sherlock Holmes than any prior generation.) And we need to use our words now, more skillfully than ever before, so that is a very good thing.

 And yet, sometimes, we can still love those same words too much.

If you just spent two hours at the keyboard spewing out a tirade of righteous anger, with God and all his angels of goodness filling your sails and pushing you forward in fierce arguments and justice-wielding fire, well, it can be hard to just let those words go. To delete such raging children of our mental voice would seem a crime . . . and yet . . . should we unleash them upon an unsuspecting world? Diaries were once the perfect cage for those beasts, but now such innovations as the blog puts those cages in a public zoo for all to visit.

But still, we have to use our words. And we have to think about those words as we do use them. So, use those fah-ncy words wherever possible, just like such proper Victorians as John H. Watson, M.D., and his friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes. They might even cool a fevered brow upon occasion, just as the good doctor helped me with today.

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