As is the case with many a Sherlock Holmes fan in their thirties, I first got into the Great Detective through a different species: a Walt Disney Mouse.
I was a child of the Disney rennaissance. The Little Mermaid hit when I was in kindergarten, Beauty and the Beast when I was in second grade, and Aladdin in third. Nestled between those last two, the theatrical re-release of The Great Mouse Detective was very well posed to grab my interest. And once I saw Basil and Dawson face down Moriarty...I mean, Ratigan, I fell headfirst into other Holmes adaptations (Young Sherlock Holmes in particular).
When my children's editions of selected Holmes stories were read, I went on to more diverse detective fiction: Encyclopedia Brown, the Something Queer series, Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children...heck, even The Babysitters Club Mysteries. Television offered a plethora of detectives: Inspector Gadget, Scooby Doo, The Pink Panther, and, if you stretched it, Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers. It was a good time to be a smarty pants kid.
But looking back a bit further, I found signs that I was familiar with the legend of Sherlock before this exposure. In my first grade magnum opus, "I Want to Be...When I Grow Up", which featured drawings positioned to allow a picture of my face to fill a hole in each portrait, one of the pages is labelled "detective" and pretty clearly depicts me as a Holmes protege.
I mean, how cute is that?
As I grew, I sought out female detectives: Mrs. Pollifax, Miss Marple, and Stephanie Plum were my favorites, but eventually I returned to the Great Detective. In college, I tackled three of the Holmes novels over a long weekend. I dragged my entire family to see the first Guy Ritchie Holmes film, and I really should have started watching the BBC's adaptation when it started airing, but alas, medical school and residency kept me from it until January of 2016.
The point of all of this navel gazing is to emphasize that I, as I assume is true of many a Holmes fan before me, have always been attracted to a mystery. I live to piece together the evidence, either before or after the story's sleuth has reached their denouement. Just like Sherlock, I live to prove I'm clever.
Come to think of it, that urge is likely a large part of why I became a physician. I couldn't have voiced it as I was completing my medical studies, but being a doctor feeds three of my major intellectual hobbies: science, acting, and detection. The fact that the built-in caregiver role makes use of my wellsprings of empathy is nice as well. You could almost say that being a general practitioner unites my inner Holmes and Watson (as I feel it did for Doyle himself).
Next time: an account of my first scion meeting, with The Parallel Cases of Saint Louis!
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