I know it's been a dozen years since they retired, but I still miss Calvin and Hobbes. And, as we've already established that I am (about some things) a dork, I can say that December 31, 1995 was the first--and last--time I ever cried when a comic strip ended.
It's not that the strip was always funny, though it was 99.99% of the time. It's more that it gave you a glimpse at what life would be like if we could keep the sense of wonder, the joy in imagining, that children have before we sacrifice it on the alter of the Four Rs.* Calvin, only six, possessed the child's imagination, but he combined with an intellect to match that of some adults. He also had a child's belief in his own immortality and the knowledge that, no matter how bad he was, his parents would always love him. Even if they didn't forgive him for a long, long time.
What brings all of this to mind? Our recent heat wave, of course.
Last week it was 100 degrees outside the house and 87 in. We don't have air conditioning, so I took the girls to the library, where I discovered that the Calvin and Hobbes books are all in the children's section. At first I thought this was a mistake, and then I realized that it was the one place the parents, a.k.a. "the people who need them the most," would find them.
I can't speak for all parents, of course, but rediscovering Calvin was a strong reminder that, while I may loathe the idea of another tea party or picnic, to Hannah and Charlotte it is more than just a game. And when they leap on unsuspecting passers-by from the back of the sofa, it's not to annoy, harass or induce heart failure. It's because they can actually fly. And Hannah's seemingly ceaseless stories are worth far more than the occasional, unthinking "uh huh, and then what?" even if I'm not fully caffeinated.
So I'd like to thank Bill Watterson for reminding me that there is a whole other world that doesn't run on adult time. A world that chafes at adult rules and demands because, to its small residents, adult rules make no sense and, so, have no bearing on their lives.
* The fourth would be "Rote."
Funny I cried too back in 1995. Suddenly the world was back to black after a short glimmer of happiness and laughter. And then I started hoping ... hoping for future work from Bill. But nothing ever came out.
Thankfully I now have kids, the eldest is 6, and they've pumped color back to my world. I still have my collection of books, and a t-shirt!! But it is not the same.
I miss Calvin! I miss Hobbes!
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