Elementary My Dear Watson

Stopped at a traffic light, I see a Honda Element in front of me with the personalized plate WATSON. I immediately deduce that it’s a shrewd nod to “Elementary my dear Watson” and give them my thumbs-up approval for their cleverness! The only thing that could have made the sight better would have been the driver smoking a Calabash pipe and wearing a Deerstalker hat.


“Elementary my dear Watson” was the explanation detective Sherlock Holmes — master of disguise — gave to Dr. Watson, his assistant, when explaining the deductions he made. In this case, elementary means “basic,” and “obvious” to Sherlock Holmes — things often overlooked, or not pieced together by others.

What is elementary to you?

© Laurie Buchanan

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63 thoughts on “Elementary My Dear Watson

  1. I love this! I’d never have a personalized license plate, but if I did this one would be a good one! What’s elementary to me is observing. I’m an observer by nature… whether visually or listening.

  2. Elementary to me is writing – my thoughts, my cravings, my loves, my fears, and mostly, I hope, writing out my spirit.
    I think you do the same. It’s elementary, my dear Laurie!

  3. I love the associations you are making as you go through your day–always aware of what surrounds you, the mark of a person living with clear intention and awareness.

    Elementary to me right now is family – now up close and personal as we review our mother’s life and legacy, surrounded by her possessions and documents that reveal what we have always known, a life of service lived for others.

  4. Great post. To me right now elementary is what I have to do to get out of living in overwhelm so I can function as a human being. It is the basics I need to do, need to have the courage to do and not worry what others may think.

    Elementary means the basics in life, what is necessary, not what are extra trappings.


    Sharon A./Only Child Writes

  5. Related to your post … what is elementary is what I (anyone) pays attention to. A couple of related thoughts … 1) what we pay attention to may offer an insight into what’s important to us or what attracts us or just our habitual way; 2) if we intentionally shift our attenton to something new that is also important to a goal, a new way of being/doing etc. We can open ourselves to a creative new space.
    A separate comment is how sychronistic our lives can be when we’re open … one can pose a question (ex. What should I blog about this week?) then just be open to messages from the universe … seeing a license plate with Watson on it. Your extraordinary gift (obvious in each post you create) is an intuitive creative capacuty to not only see Watson but make the leap to elementary my dear Watson. You know this of course … I just want to bow to the creative muse within you. And tell you how much I delight in your Tuesday gifts.

    • Audrey — I love when you said that when we shift our attention to something new, “We can open ourselves to a creative new space.” YES, Indeed! 🙂

      I’m so glad you enjoy Tuesdays With Laurie. Thank you for your continued support. I appreciate YOU!

  6. First, I thought of my brother’s best friends, whose names are the Watsons. Second, thought about Robin Williams being a master of disguise, or masks. Third, what is elementary to me? That we humans contain the earth and the sun and everything in between. That the mind so often tries to limit us. Goodness, you packed a LOT in this post, dear Watson!

    • Kathy – I am still reeling from the death of Robin Williams, a person whose heart was as big and far-reaching as the sky.

      I’m ever-so-glad that I’m a part of you, and you’re a part of me. It makes life just that much sweeter 🙂

  7. My favorite actor of all time, is the wonderful Robin Williams, he made me laugh when no one else could …love him… a sad day .

    When I was about ten, and an avid watcher of Mork and Mindy, I would be laughing my heart out and my Dad , who was a great joker, would be laughing at me laughing a t Mork and Mindy .
    Laughter is elementary for me Laurie

    • Cherry – Like you, I’m still reeling from the shock of this loss. Robin Williams was not only funny, he had a generous spirit and a heart as big as the sky.

      I remember the Mork & Mindy show. It’s funny that your dad laughed at you, laughing at it! Yes indeed, laughter is elementary 🙂

  8. While it is not as obvious to those with belief systems different than mine, to me it is plain that Life is a gift from God. To take with malice the Life of another is an affront to God and is called murder. To take one’s own Life, is not only an affront to the Giver but also a rebuttal of God’s Love and compassion. Those, who out of despair and depression, take their own lives are suffering from a disease about which we know very little. Mental illness can take many forms, most of them are hidden for fear of shame or ridicule. We must show a greater understanding and sympathy for those fighting those battles within their own minds. To help, to serve with kindness is Elemental to me.

    • Sandi – Your comment about life being a gift from God is timely in the light of the recent loss of Robin Williams; a man whose sky-sized philanthropic heart was not as well known as his humor.

      As a person who’s known you for years, I know that helping and service with kindness are as vital to you as breathing.

  9. Elementary to me is kindness and I need to say my ability to integrate ideas into useful knowledge and understanding. One needs to listen and to fully hear finally stepping into the understanding with kindness ( I sometimes blurt it out)

  10. I read every single Doyle’s Sherlock Homes stories by age 14. All of John Carter of Mars by Burroughs, and most of H G Wells and James Fennimore Cooper by 18. Presently reading Jack Whyte’s Camulod Chronicles series and Robert B Parker’s Spenser detective series. Father lives with me and we lead a fairly reclusive lives and few friends and acquaintances I have say to get a life. We artists and bookworms have a vast, vast world they never could imagine.

    • Carl, you are the only other person I know who has read the Camulod Chronicles. What an extraordinary writer Jack Whyte is! I was very sad when I closed the last book, not because of the inevitable ending but because I had read them all and there were no more!

  11. First time here, and as I was trying to think of something about me that was obvious to me and overlooked by others, I couldn’t come up with a thing! LOL 🙂 Either it’s too early in the morning (and I admit, I’m still working my first cuppa coffee), or I live a life out loud enough …through my words, actions, writing….that those in my life understand and get who I Am . Guess I’ll have to think on this a little more today. Thanks for the mind candy!

  12. Elementary is the ability to move forward every day with self-confidence. This is vital for creativity, optimism and a sure panacea for depression and low self-esteem. I love the lead-in with Holmes and Watson—that 40’s series with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as always been a big favorite for me over the years. 🙂

  13. Hi Laurie,

    How long have you got? 😉

    There are many aspects of reality that seem elementary to me, and at the same time, the totality of all the aspects is so complex that it seems likely that should I live the rest of eternity it will still appear mysterious to me.

    And for me, it seems most likely that we got here as the result of a set of systems, rather than as the result of any intentional activity, and I can understand that it might not seem that way to many others.

    I tend to view things in terms of systems, incentives, rate limiting steps, and flows of energy and matter. I use the tools of logic and mathematics to evaluate those things, and some systems are not linear – so are not predictable, except by trying them and seeing.
    And the reality of the complexity of the number of interacting systems is such that none of them (eve the linear ones) are ever entirely predictable. We can understand general trends, and there will always be subtleties that evade prediction.
    Human beings are extremely complex entities, far beyond our ability to predict in detail, however good we get at predicting the averages, there will always be outliers.

  14. Very good Laurie, that would be my first impression as well. However, it may be that person’s actual name! There’s the actress Emma Watson, folk singer Willie Watson.
    A quick wiki search reveals:
    Watson is a patronymic surname of English origin. Meaning “son of Walter”, the popular Middle English given names Wat or Watt were pet forms of the name Walter. Watson is the 36th-most common surname in the United Kingdom.

    Enjoy u’r lovely day 🙂

  15. What is elementary to me most people don’t see. I seem to live in a world that is blind, deaf, and dumb. I see beauty, I see Truth, and and hear Life. I’m a keen observer on the physical, emotional, and energetic levels. Too much so sometimes.

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