Tag Archives: Arthur Conan Doyle

Three Paragraphs of Deduction

If there’s a name for their profession, I don’t know it, but there are people who spend their whole life reconstructing the probable diets of prehistoric creatures based on the shape and patterns of wear in their fossilized molars. It may be that they were driven to the arms of forensic biology after failing dental school, probably through neglect of their textbooks in favor of nitrous oxide-fuelled midnight readings from Arthur Conan Doyle.

If it were possible to arrive by deduction at the object lifted based upon the pattern or character of injury done particular muscles and bones, then my back would declare today that I helped move a piano this last weekend. It wasn’t a very large piano, thankfully, but still it couldn’t move itself. I remember laughing, as a younger man, at the notion that someone could throw out his back by a mere sneeze or fit of hilarity. I don’t laugh at the idea anymore. I don’t dare laugh (or sneeze) at all.

At one of our more colorful local parks, maintained by the Rosicrucians, my son and his entrepreneurial young friend recently discovered they could get rich by dredging the fountain for coins. The fountain is tiled in blue and pink and, like everything else in the park, decorated in Egyptian motifs. One of the nearby hieroglyphs suggests a slender deity giving pharaoh a haircut or shoulder massage. People throw coins into the fountain to make a wish, I reminded the boys. If you steal the coins, aren’t you stealing the wishes too?

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