Sometimes life can seem like one great mystery that needs solving. Whom should you marry? Will everything at your job work out? Is cutting out dairy really going to solve your health problems? Where are the best deals on jeans this time of year?
For these and other burning questions, Holmes and Watson are on your case. Though we don’t understand this phenomenon, once a week 221B Baker Street materializes outside of the Flatiron building here in New York City. The Tor.com staff is able to enter for a brief time and give this detecting duo your questions.
This week, here’s what they had to say this week about bicycle lessons, marriage woes and managing one’s classroom.
Worried about Wheels writes:
Dear Mr. Holmes:
For many years I have kept a terrible secret and I am worried it will finally be revealed. My problem is this: I never learned how to ride a bicycle and my significant other is a bicycle enthusiast! She has been encouraging me to go on rides with her in the park. I have avoided this every single time, usually feigning a stomach ache, though on occasion I have disguised myself as a lampshade. I love this woman, but I’m afraid this failing of mine will tear us apart. What should I do?
Holmes: It seems you may already have a solution to your problem. The lampshade detail is most instructive. Have you any contact with actors? Do you have access to members in the theatre? If so, I would recommend calling upon one of them to disguise themselves as you the next time your lover asks to accompany her on one of these cycling sojourns. A bit of make-up or a wig can go a long way when placed correctly. Indeed, as Watson can attest, I’ve passed myself as an elderly vagrant, a diminutive jockey, a burlesque dancer, and a deck of playing cards. I would be willing to disguise myself as you for a small fee, though I’m afraid I could not be called upon to perform this task on a regular basis.
Watson: But Holmes, wouldn’t it be easier for this client to simply obtain cycling lessons from a professional?
Holmes: I considered that option initially, but found it to be the wrong course of action. This client clearly dislikes being outside, a quality with which I sympathize. If this client took lessons, resentment for the lover would begin to set in, as this is a situation that makes this person very uncomfortable. No. Deception is the only way to save the relationship.
Watson: I suppose you’re right, old boy. By the way, has that lampshade always been there?
Missing Buffolo Writes:
Dear Mr. Holmes,
Whilst teaching law students twice weekly (with a particular focus on the merits of active voice over passive voice) I quite often spot several of the students looking down at the screens of their note-taking devices and laughing, even though I have said nothing remotely funny. I’m worried that there may be some new and invidious form of brain-worm infiltrating young people’s minds. Have you encountered such a deviance in your travels? What may be done about it?
Holmes: I find this question troubling. Why do you suppose that you are not saying anything amusing? Perhaps you just have one of those faces at which people snicker. If this were true, the note taking devices would have nothing to do with your “problem.” Have you considered your voice? Perhaps you have tendency to whistle when you speak. I would postulate your voice is hilarious and ridiculous.
Watson: But we don’t know that Holmes. Using your methods, we don’t have enough data!
Holmes: Quite true Watson! Kindly hand me my violin. I’d like to demonstrate the sound a Stradivarius makes when it connects with the top of a man’s skull.
Mary M. “Batson” writes:
Dear Mr. Holmes
I have a concern about my husband, who, for the purpose of this letter I will call “John Batson.” He’s a very good man, a fine doctor, a war hero, and I love him very much. But lately he spends all his time with a rather peculiar gentleman friend of his. They eat every meal together—and I’m never invited—and they’re out until all hours of the evening. And when he does come home he just spends he time scribbling away in his notebooks about what they did together. He barely even talks to me. I love my husband, and he is, as I said, a very good man, but I fear our marriage is falling apart and that perhaps he and his friend are closer than two gentlemen of high moral character ought to be. What should I do to bring my husband back to me?
Holmes: What is clear to me is that you, Mrs. Batson have an unnatural love of alchohol. Jealousy of your husband’s socializing is natural of course, but your level of drinking to cope with it is not. If your husband is a good man, what do you care who he takes his meals with? Also, what makes this gentlemen peculiar? A pecurality to one individual may very well be the norm for someone else. I would advise you to put the bottle down and take a nap.
Watson: Also Holmes, I’d like to let this woman know that hypothetically she should expect her husband home late tonight. In fact, he may not even come home at all, and she should hypothetically cut him some slack.
Holmes: Sound advice Watson. Now, hand me the violin again.
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