"Why did you say that, early morning brain?" I inquired.
"Don Izban," my brain replied.
Forgive me if I get a detail or two wrong here, as it's been a while since I've been up to Chicago or crossed paths with Don, but for those of you who have done neither, Don Izban is a genial and often hilarious Sherlockian who has put together more than a few Chicago Sherlockian traditions. And one thing I still remember him doing from my time up there was claiming to never have read the Canon.
We all took it as a gag, of course, but the funniest part was when you would stop and wonder, "What if he really never did?"
Sure, he did great tours of the cemetery where Vincent Starrett was buried. Sure, he started the STUD Sherlockian Society and co-founded a Sherlockian jazz appreciaton event, among other things. But none of those things really required reading the Canon.
Which made me realize that you don't even have to like Sherlock Holmes to be a Sherlockian. Here's the two-part actual baseline that I've seen proven out, time and again, over the last forty years for being a Sherlockian.
a.) Know there's something called "a Sherlockian."
b.) Find some people calling themselves "Sherlockians" to hang out with, either in person or online.
That's it. If you just hang out with Sherlockians, it pretty quickly becomes assumed that you are a Sherlockian. You don't have to read Doyle. You don't have to watch BBC Sherlock. You really don't have to do anything else but connect with at least one other Sherlockian and listen to them and nod.
That's what makes a Sherlockian.
Show up at this weekend's Left Coast Sherlockian Symposium, and guess what? You're a Sherlockian! Find your way to one gathering of Sherlockians, and guess what? You've got Sherlockian street cred.
Any bar set above those two conditions that I've laid out above is just someone trying to put themselves above or below someone else in that perverse desire we have to rank people, be it to compliment them or ourselves. Being a Sherlockian? Not really so hard.
Finding out Sherlockians exist, in a world where we are a real tiny fraction of the population, is the highest hurdle you have to jump, and that's usually just chance.
So if you're reading this, and you don't actively resist the tag, hello, fellow Sherlockian!