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Sherlocking With John Farrell
I was in my home away from home this week – Los Angeles. It was another grueling two-day workweek. My company recently released a major software revision and I have been calling on existing customers and sitting with radiologists as they read exams. I show them the new features of our software and offer them suggestions on how to be more efficient. These trips are mostly stress free. I had already trained the staff at the hospital that I was at this week so it was like a homecoming visit. Of course, I did not allow a bit of work interfere with doing a little Sherlocking.
I was working in Downey which is not too far from John Farrell. John lives in Long Beach and we arranged to meet on Thursday afternoon. I was finished in the early afternoon so I made it to John’s house with plenty of time to visit. John and I have known each other for nearly twenty years. We first met in Moriarty, New Mexico at one of the Unhappy Moriarty You Bastard Celebrations. This was the famous meeting that John read letters from Senators and Governors in response to his requesting them to send samples for the Manure Pile.
For those unfamiliar with the proceedings at the Unhappy Birthday celebration, this celebration is always held at the Frontier Saloon. At evening’s end everyone goes outside and a bonfire of manure is set ablaze as Unhappy Birthday Moriarty You Bastard is sung. It was sort of a Sherlockian Cum-by-ya moment. The responses from the elected officials were hilarious. The Governor of Washington state sent five pounds of cricket feces from a research facility near Tacoma and the Governor of Colorado sent coprolite , petrified dinosaur feces, and another senator sent in a copy of one his speeches, stating that pretty much everything he said was full of s***.
John is rather a large man. He could pass as the twin brother of the Harry Potter character Hagrid. John takes up all of the space on his side of the rental car but this did not stop us from heading from Long Beach to Westminster where we visited Little Saigon. The proprietor of the first Vietnamese bookstore we entered was visibly nervous. One could tell she had never seen the likes of such a large person. Between the three of us, we could not communicate the fact that we wanted Sherlock Holmes books in Vietnamese. The proprietor kept handing us Vietnamese-to-English dictionaries. I was able to find Harry Potter, Charles Dickens, and Agatha Christie in Vietnamese but no Sherlock Holmes. This very scene repeated itself several more times, as we ventured from bookstore to bookstore and received the same bewildered look and then the sacrificial dictionary offering.
We finally gave up and retired to a small Vietnamese restaurant. This was an authentic place and the menu was written in Vietnamese and only made it more difficult to order. With the help of our server, who spoke very broken English, and John and I who spoke zero Vietnamese, we managed to order dinner. At least they did not offer us a dictionary. After dinner, we drove back to Long Beach, to a local theater where John was reviewing a series of five one-act plays that night. It was another grand evening of Sherlocking in California.
John Farrell reading from the Ogden Nash book at
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