I love Calvin and Hobbes. Always have. Always will.
I was first introduced to Bill Watterson’s timeless creation while I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Oregon. I distinctly remember sitting around their dinner table, listening while the adults chatted about the events of the day. Being ten years old at the time, current events could interest me less, so I decided to go exploring the Great Kerns Estate.
My aunt Angela and uncle Mike have owned a private school in the small town of Cottage Grove for as long as I remember. It’s a place that I will forever cherish as one of my favorite places in the world. Even when I visited them last year I still felt like a little kid, giddy at the sight of the swing set and the familiar green trees that I had climbed in my youth. Ah yes, I remember thinking, it’s all here, just as I remember it.
The school is full of books and old computers and odds and ends and strange looking antiques (my uncle is a antique junkie, much to the amusement and occasional dismay of his wife, who has one of the loudest laughs I have ever heard, other than my fathers), I stumbled across a scattered library of sorts. Behind some rusty antique instruments was a bookshelf that had seen better days. Dust was everywhere, so as I pawed through the book, I sneezed every time I picked up a new one.
The History of the Civil War? “Ahhhhhhhh chew!”
The Time Machine? “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh chew!”
I tossed books off to the side with disregard (this was long before my bookworm phase), unimpressed with what I was seeing. Come on, I thought, there has to be something cool here somewhere!
And then at long last I saw it: A big book with dogeared corners and a picture of a kid a little younger than myself and what looked like a tiger of sorts flying through the air above a lake. Hmmmmmmmmmm….. This looks interesting!
Calvin and Hobbes, the title said. I flipped it open. Calvin had transformed into a dinosaur and was terrorizing a small village! I changed the page, Calvin had transformed into his alter-ego Spaceman Spiff and was hurtling through space at break-neck speed, pursuing two hideous alien creatures in their spaceships. I changed the page again and Calvin and his tiger Hobbes were flying down a snow-covered mountain discussing philosophy. Cool!
I read the entire thing in one sitting. I was mesmerized. In a trance I put the book under my arm and ventured back into the Kerns’ house.
“What you got there?” my uncle asked me, noticing the book under my arm, which was a unique look for me at the time.
“Ummmmmmm…. I found this.”
My uncle looked at the title of the book and smiled a far-off smile, as if remembering something precious.
“Ah yes, Calvin and Hobbes. I love that book. You can have it if you like.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, go for it! It’s good for you, reading. Strengthens the mind.”
“If you say so…..” I said doubtfully as I quickly rushed into the guest room to pack the book into my bag of belonging, lodged next to some G.I. Joes and T-Rex t-shirts.
Thus marked my life-long love affair with the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. To this day that book remains one of my favorite books to read when I’m feeling blue. Calvin and Hobbes always lifts my spirits. My only sadness is that I own all the Calvin and Hobbes books and so there is no more new Calvin and Hobbes to read. But that’s okay. Calvin and Hobbes is perfect just the way it is.