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The View from the East End (30)

By Inspector Hopkins

January 15, 2006

He is Everywhere

This is one of the popular and ongoing topics found amongst the “Hounds of the Internet” daily postings. It concerns references to things of interest to Sherlockians, especially occurrences of references to either Sherlock Holmes himself or to anything Canonical. For example, movies or movie titles, and especially symbols found in the media such as magnifying glasses, deerstalker hats, cloaks, pipes etc.

Oftentimes newspaper articles will contain a vague (or not so vague) reference to our hero, and it seems that once you cross over the line in becoming a serious Sherlockian, you start noticing these little things and hints about the Canon more and more easily.  They stand out more in our daily lives because we become more in tune with them.  Hints and references to Sherlock Holmes in various television shows are another example of what I’m talking about.

After reading through the Canon, the budding Sherlockian scholar will realize that Holmes never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson”.  This phrase has become a catch-all, a symbol of Holmes, and is in fact a stereotype. Every serious Sherlockian really knows this deep down inside, but we tolerate this inaccurate utterance repeated to us by the media, or by our non-Sherlockian friends, since (in a way at least), it helps to keep Sherlockian momentum going.  And anything which propels Sherlockiana along has got to be good, right?

Consider those “Sherlock Holmes Action Figures”.   You can see them every week right here on Brad’s “Action Sherlock Brain Theatre”.  Not quite the same scale as the GI Joe action figures or Barbie dolls, but large enough in my book to help perpetuate our hero and his battles against crime!  Inspired by all this, I got my very own action figure and took it to work where I placed it on top of my GC/MS instrument.  From time to time I place him in different locations atop my instrument, so that he always appears to be busy and looking through his lens for “clues” as to why my instrument isn’t functioning properly. Now whenever any of my colleagues stop by my lab, they pause to look at and admire my Sherlock Holmes figure, resplendent with his pipe and “working magnifying glass”. 

Does this count as one of those “He is Everywhere” moments? 

In a way I suppose it does, because my colleagues, not being Sherlockians themselves, are now much more aware of Sherlock Holmes than they were before.  Now they can go home having had one of those moments for themselves.  But for me it does not, because I deliberately placed Holmes up there, and did not stumble across him (or any reference to him) purely by chance.

Keep in mind that a GC/MS instrument is a complicated thing with many small parts, any of which can go bad and cause problems.  Recently I was attempting to locate a replacement part, specifically a new Merlin microseal high pressure septum nut. To my eyes, the small worn piece had a part number “228” stamped on it. I didn’t recall seeing this part number in any previous order placed to the parts company. And try as I might, I could not seem to locate this part in any catalogue. Finally, in exasperation, I took out my own magnifying lens and carefully examined the part again, this time under better light.  Imagine my shock and surprise when I saw that the part number was actually “221B”.

This was especially ironic because I had to move my Sherlock Holmes Action Figure out of the way in order to see it.

Until next time, and hoping you will also find him to be everywhere, I indeed remain,

Yours faithfully,