Childhood Heroes

At one point or another, everyone has had a childhood hero; a person who we admire, respect and in some cases, or maybe most cases, we want to be. My childhood hero was Sherlock Holmes. I'd seen all the movies, with as many personalities as there were James Bonds, from Jeremy Brett to George C. Scott, and Christopher Lee as a semi-retired, silver-haired sleuth to my personal favourite, Robert Downey Jr. playing an eccentric, unsociable, genius with a martial arts skill set to match his powers of observation. I even saw Disney's recreation of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's Baker Street crime fighter entitled, "The Great Mouse Detective."There was something about reading of a consulting detective (making Holmes the foreshadow of so many American PI movies of the '80s) tearing through the streets of Victorian and Edwardian London on the heels of an ingenious professor-turned-arch-criminal, mastering all manners of disguise and inventing an equal number of futuristic devices that sparked my young imagination. The elements were all there, much as they are with Harry Potter in this generation's parlance, to take me away from the here-and-now; a world of tweed jacketed gentlemen with riding capes, bowler hats and walking sticks, where Webley revolvers sat in pockets rather than SIG-Sauer pistols sitting in Fobus paddle holsters and horse drawn carriages and broughams were the normal means of mechanized transport. It was a world without car chases, helicopter assaults or exploding transport trucks. There were no phone taps, no computers to hack into and no spy satellites chasing the hero from the Earth's orbit. There were no briefcases being exchanged by Uzi-toting criminals, and no GPS units in cars guiding the hero through the complex streets of Paris or Rome after the villain. There were Holmes and his inhuman deductive powers, and Watson, there to tell the tale. It was a world that required the reader to actively engage his imagination and intellect in order to understand the plots of the notorious professor and the solutions found by Holmes.Holmes remains to this day my all-time hero. Perhaps there's something about his eccentric, solitary, moody and unsociable demeanour, along with his analytical brilliance and deductive sixth sense that strikes a chord with me, since I'm very much that way myself. Though admittedly, I don't sit at home in the dark with a revolver blowing the Queen's cypher into my walls. The rest of Holmes' character though is very much like my own, which I suppose is why the newest interpretation of the Baker Street Sleuth is my favourite; it reminds me of why I loved Holmes in the first place. Now, to sit down and watch some more...