Back in my high school and college days, I loved to get the Sunday paper. Not so much for the narcissistic opinions, the slanted reporting or the ridiculous sales circulars. What I really looked forward to was the comics section. In particular, Calvin and Hobbes. On Sunday, Bill Watterson’s ingenious strip was a half page of beautiful color and imaginative illustration and a heroic dose of witticism I really connected with. I loved it so much, that for years, I cut out the strips with plans to someday wallpaper my entire room with them. To my parents’ delight, I never followed through on that, but I still have a gigantic stack of yellowed newspaper clippings in my attic.
Calvin is based on a theological heavy hitter during the Reformation, John Calvin. Hobbes’ character is based on Thomas Hobbes, a political philosopher from the 1600’s. The strip was an insightful look at the human condition, a heartfelt pondering of life’s purpose / meaning and a reflection on the simplicity and absurdness of childhood eloquently juxtaposed with quintessential gross little boy humor. Like I said, exactly the sort of thing I found extremely relevant. And in fact, I still do.
Occasionally during the nightly bedtime story with my 3 year old son, I’ll convince him to forego his favorite Disney story “Pedro” and sneak in a few of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips. He’s definitely a fan of the “Spaceman Spiff” and the “Calvinosarus” illustrations and he seems to be intrigued by Hobbes, but I don’t think the dialogue is quite suited for him to process yet. But I’ll keep trying.
Anyway, I began this after I read a Wall Street Journal article by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. The article is an entertaining depiction of his college experience running a coffee house as part of an accounting course he was taking. He goes on to express how some of the most important lessons he learned happened there and not in the classroom. I really enjoyed Adams’ perspective. Although I don’t read Dilbert, there’s a good chance I’ll start now.
You can read his article here.
Maybe check out the comics section of the newspaper – if your city still has one. And if you haven’t before, pick up a collection of Calvin and Hobbes. Turns out you can buy beautifully printed collections for about $6 at any bookstore these days…