Sunday, April 12, 2009
This was possibly the first great Calvin and Hobbes strip. Childhood mischief had always been played out by assholes like Dennis the Menace and Jeffy from Family Circus. The difference is that those two were well-meaning retarded kids. It's already been established that Calvin's a smart kid, and here he is just wantonly being an asshole. To see a child genius sit there and nonchalantly bang the shit out of a coffee table is hilarious.
This strip has become a personal philosophy for me the as of late. Before I moved to Virginia, I used to watch every single Red Sox game with my father, and one day, while the Red Sox held a small lead on their opponents, he asked me "If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?" I answered, "For the Red Sox to have a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 6th." He called me a dingbat.
When I was six years old (Calvin's age), my mom dragged me to swimming lessons all summer. It was without doubt the worst experience of my entire life (and it's quite terrible to think that I had to suffer the worst experience of my life at the age of six). I hated water. I hated the cold. I hated getting up early every morning. I hated the peer pressure. I was scared shitless of drowning. The drive from my house to the pool was about half an hour. I memorized all the landmarks on the way, and as each one passed my wish that I was dead would grow more fervent. I honestly anticipated swimming lessons like one would anticipate a lethal injection.
After coming home on the second or third day, I came across the first Calvin and Hobbes collection. The first page I opened to was the beginning of the story of Calvin's experience with swimming lessons. I identified with it immediately. It was incredibly spot-on. No matter how horrible my day was, I could at least take solace in the fact that my struggles were shared by someone else, even if he were a drawing. This story reminds me that I've been able to relate to "Calvin and Hobbes" more than just about anything else in the world.