The View from Sherlock Peoria
Was It Worth It?
Was it worth it?
The much-maligned Wikipedia contains the following line in its article on fans:
"Fans usually have a strong enough interest that some changes in their lifestyles are made to accommodate devotion to their focal object."
Even though a contingent of Sherlockians has always maintained our fandom is composed of "devotees" or "aficionados," if it looks like a fan and quacks like a fan, you know what a true Sherlockian most certainly is: a fan. Someone whose interest in Sherlock Holmes is strong enough to cause lifestyle changes.
Wearing the odd hat or t-shirt.
Selecting vacation spots based on related sites or symposia.
Spending social evenings with friends who gather based on one criteria: their common love of the subject.
A fandom does change our lifestyles, and with that, our very lives.
We spend time, money, pride, heartache, focus, health . . . basically, everything that makes up a human life, on our fantoms. On Sherlock Holmes. And most of the time, we're not even sure why.
If you think about it, I'm sure you can come up with a legend whose truth spoke to you. The friends that interest bought you in contact with along the way. The respite from your daily routine. We don't trade life for nothing.
But there are going to be moments when you ask yourself, "Was it worth it?" You look at other benchmarks in your life. The paths not taken. The things missed that seem much less silly than a fandom based around sixty stories, some of which actually suck. Was it worth it?
Those moments, as depressing as they can be, are important. They're a necessary gut check that keeps us from waking up one day and realizing we've wasted our lives. Life comes in limited quantities, and no matter how many bad investments you've made with it in the past, your future investments can still pay off, as long as you have any life left at all.
The winding down of Sherlock Peoria in the next few months is most certainly a Sherlockian fan gut check opportunity for those of us writing here. Because Sherlockians, as all fans, do need their gut checks.
It would be easy to look at Sherlock Peoria's extinction as an invalidation. If it isn't going on forever, why should it have gone on at all? How could anyone spend ten years building something and then make it disappear overnight on June 3? We could ask existential questions all summer long, but they all will eventually come down to this: Was it worth it?
Was it worth the spending every Sunday night for the last ten years thinking about Sherlock Holmes's effect on my life in the preceding week?
The question is so large that it practically becomes a validation of my participation in Sherlockiana as a whole. Ten years is less than a third of the thirty-three years I've spent in Sherlockian fandom.
Was it worth it?
Such a big question! One could ponder and worry and wrestle at such a thought with all the angst of a teenager, writing a series of blogs, and generally be no fun at parties for weeks. So instead, I'll just tell you this: Wednesday, the one-day-only t-shirt site Teefury was selling a design inspired by the by the Cumberbatch Sherlock. Available for just 24 hours, as all Teefury shirts are, I had a little over an hour to decide whether to buy or not to buy, once I finally noticed in on the Baker Street Babes Twitter feed. So what happened?
I bought the t-shirt.
And I guess that is my answer to the question. Was it worth it?
Well, I bought the t-shirt.
Your humble correspondent,
Past 2012 Columns