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Those of us who are Sherlockians know what it takes to be a Sherlockian. It can sometimes be difficult to explain what we are to non-Sherlockians. Many non-Sherlockians equate us to Trekkies and part of some crazy cult that dresses in Victorian garb and traipse around spouting off in bad, fake English accents. Most are surprised to learn that very few of us have ever dressed in Victorian costume and traipsed anywhere. Oddly, a good number of people, even educated ones, think Sherlock Holmes was a real person.
Dictionary.com defines “Sherlockian” as [shur-lok-ee-uhn] as an adjective 1: pertaining to or characteristic of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes known for his skills in solving mysteries through deductive reasoning and a noun: 2: a devoted fan of or expert on the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Ironically, they do not have any listing for the British counterpart, Holmesian. Sherlocking, also omitted at Dictionary.com does appear on the Urban Dictionary website (/www.urbandictionary.com). Here is what they have to say on Sherlocking: 1. searching for clues pertaining to events that occur to oneself during a blackout from alcohol, drugs, etc., especially those that occur the previous night. “John was so wasted last night; he went Sherlocking this morning to figure out what happened.” 2. When one goes looking for evidence. “Hey, I’m going Sherlocking!”or in the sense that they have stumbled upon something stupid, or states the plain obvious, "Wow the sky is blue" "That’s some Pro-Sherlocking." 3. The art of asking and asking an unreasonable number of questions upon first meeting a person. Often done by a sibling or other family member of a member of the opposite gender. “Damn Annie, what was up with your sister Sherlocking last night?” Even though I live in urban area, I have never heard a soul, other than another Sherlockian, use the term Sherlocking. Maybe Dallas-Fort Worth is not urban enough.
The definitions from the Urban Dictionary are not exactly what I think of when I use the term Sherlocking. My definition is simply doing something Sherlockian. Anyone familiar with this site can see that this is the 35th article this year and Sherlocking has been in the title of 12 times. This year alone I have been Sherlocking in New York City; Columbia, MD; on my Birthday; at the Circle Brewery; in Tulsa; in Windom, TX; in Manila; With Tim Evers; in Fort Worth; With Debbie and Ralph Hall; in Pebble Beach, CA; and with Joan and Rosa Proubasta. Later this year, I will be Sherlocking in Rome.
I do not own a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary so I do not know how they define these words. I was mildly shocked to learn that Urban Dictions lists six definitions for the term ‘No s***, Sherlock’ but had never heard of their follow-up response when someone says No s*** Sherlock which was, F*** you, Watson! NSS (No s***, Sherlock) seems to be reserved as a response to someone that is a know it all and used sarcastically. Using NSS when someone states the obvious – ‘The sky is blue’ is acceptable. Jeanie Paton presented a film compilation of scenes from dozens of movies that featured NNS and one of the funniest films I have ever watched.
In summary, when a Sherlockian does something Sherlockian, they are Sherlocking. This is a No s*** Sherlock moment that does not require an F*** you, Watson response.
Past 2011 Columns