Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Sherlock Holmes and Floor Bacon

Whenever you get a bunch of people together, they're inevitably going to add random bits to their common culture. Little touchstones of shared experience, recognitions of our similar goals as fans, or just in-jokes that go on way past the punchline -- wherever they come from, they rise up with seemingly no connection to the original purposes of those gathered and can be a bit baffling to the outside observer.

I remember hearing of these from when I first became a Sherlockian. Why did the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes sing a song about reindeer flying upside down? I must have known once, but that memory is now long gone. That was about thirty years ago or more.

"Red Pants Mondays" is a more recent bit of that mysterious sort of lore. At this point many can still point to the exact origins of that Watsonian trope, but for so many folks wandering into the culture, it's one more "What the heck?" All a newcomer knows is that somebody obviously had some fun with whatever the thing was, and they want to find out what was going on there.

Which brings me to the Floor Bacon, that icon of pilgrimage and "All Hail The Floor Bacon" badge ribbons at 221B Con.

Somewhere, in the long hallway that leads to all the panels and dealers and gatherings and singings and dancings of 221B Con is a fixture of the Atlanta airport Marrott that is exactly what the name says it is: Floor Bacon. A piece of the stone floor that is undeniably a little more than a half a piece of bacon. Part of the actual floor, never to be picked up or eaten.

It's not easy to find the Floor Bacon, which adds to its mystique. Most of us had to have someone else introduce us to the Floor Bacon, another wee bonding moment during a weekend of bonding moments. And the Floor Bacon soon becomes a signpost that you're on your way to all the fun things of the con, which gives it that much more significance.

"I'm bringing the bacon at last," Sherlock Holmes once said, in his guise as Altamont in "His Last Bow." And we all know how much Holmes was fond of going to the floor to search for clues, laying himself flat on the floor like a lover. Our honoring the Floor Bacon also pays homage to both of those bits of Sherlock, even if I might have just made that part up right now. (Though somebody had to think of it before me, and all credit to you!)

The Canons of Sherlock Holmes are so full of details that make life more interesting, including the floor at a Marriott hotel. But as much as we give that book or books credit, it's just words on paper. Like the Floor Bacon, the Red Pants, or those upside down reindeers, it's the Sherlockians who give it all life and magic, and bring that bit of "extra" to those things that we love.

So long live the Floor Bacon! (Which might be soon upstaged by the Fudtruck, so we'll see what happens next year . . . and what comes along then!)

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