Sometimes life can seem like one great mystery that needs solving. Should you shave your beard? Will you find that perfect apartment? Who is your real father? Which superhero movie should you spend money to go see?
For these and other burning questions, Holmes and Watson are on your case. Though we don’t understand this phenomenon, once a week, a Victorian Era 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 the famed detecting duo your questions. This week they’re weighing in on coffee shop selections, cats, and online dating.
Online Jitters Writes:
Dear Mr. Holmes,
I have recently ventured into the world of online dating and find the whole process daunting. I feel overwhelmed with the amount of power I have in terms of giving various potential mates a rating based on their answers to innocuous questions and a few digital snapshots. For example: does someone who lists Wedding Crashers as their favorite film deserve a one-star-rating? I fear this whole process has trickled into the real world as I catch myself looking at people on my morning commute and wondering how many stars I would rate them if we were meeting online rather than exchanging glances in a subway car. Am I losing my mind? What should I do?
Holmes: This digital courtship of which you refer strikes me as one of the most bizarre paradoxes of your century, and one I find that creates the most opportunities for deception. Because the users are able control literally all the data about them that is presented, everything is highly subjective. Trusting the accuracy of someone’s online dating profile would be tantamount to having the only witness of a murder be a mime. When data is obtained through too many filters, it becomes useless.
Watson: But Holmes, last time we were in this century, didn’t you meet someone, in person, who you’d intially learned of anonymously online?
Holmes: Yes, but that was only because they’d manage to transcribe a copy of Wedding Crashers into book format for me. Watson, I must tell you. It is the best piece of literature I’ve ever read.
Watson: But you know nothing about literature, old boy!
Picky About Coffee Writes:
Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson—
I am a connoisseur of coffee in all of its forms. However, I can’t seem to find a coffee shop that lives up to my standards. Either the service is lovely and the product is poor, or the reverse is true. Sometimes the music is just terrible, or the WIFI connection spotty! Am I too picky? How can I find the right coffee shop?
Holmes: Based on your letter, I must conclude that your concern about coffee is merely an affront for more serious problems. Working with only the facts you have given me, I find it likely you are only frequenting these types of establishments in the hopes of making a romantic connection. Because you are able to interchange the various other aspects of the coffee shop into an equation equaling a sum that you do not approve of, one can render all of these criteria you’ve listed as moot. The music and the WIFI are of no relevance to you. You are searching for a person. How best to meet such a person? Try online dating.
Watson: But Holmes! Perhaps this poor soul is looking for a good cup of coffee and a place to read and write that is in keeping with their high standards? What if they have no hidden agenda?
Holmes: Watson, Watson, Watson. When I frequent the opium dens, do you think I’m going there to simply obtain opium?
Watson: Yes, of course. You only claim to be gathering evidence for your cases.
Holmes: I don’t partake in opium. It’s cocaine. This is a common misconception about me.
Watson: I don’t know about that, Holmes; it seems that you’ll partake in just about anything.
Holmes: Fair point, Watson. Still. I suspect this person is looking for something beyond just opium.
Watson: You mean coffee?
Aspiring Actress Writes:
Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson,
I have recently been cast in a play entitled “The Cat of the Baskervilles” in which I am to play the title role. The play is a musical and requires me to sing all the songs in the language of a cat. However, as I am fully human, I have never developed the ability to understand cat-language, much less speak it. Our first dress rehearsal is in one week and I fear I’ll be fired on the spot, and my career in musical theatre will end before it starts. What should I do?
Holmes: If no one in the audience is a cat, no one will know the difference.
Watson: But Holmes! Clearly the book for this musical was written in cat-language. Surely the director will know and this poor woman will be exposed.
Holmes: Doubtful, Watson, very doubtful. Only a raving lunatic would write a musical about cats. I’d be willing to assert any musical featuring felines will always flop.
Watson: What about a musical about a detective and a doctor?
Holmes: Capital idea, Watson!
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