For those comic strip fans who miss Bill Watterson’s classic Calvin & Hobbes, which ran from 1985 to 1995, the fondest memories are undoubtedly the razor-sharp insights that Calvin utters—to his imaginary tiger friend Hobbes, his parents, his teachers and anyone else. Philosophical and hilarious, these aphorisms managed to make sense of the chaos of reality in delightfully original ways. Here are some of the choicest nuggets from that golden age:
• On life’s constant little limitations: Calvin: You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.
• On expectations: Calvin: Everybody seeks happiness! Not me, though! That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world. Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!
• On why we are scared of the dark: Calvin: I think night time is dark so you can imagine your fears with less distraction.
• On the unspoken truth behind the education system: Calvin: As you can see, I have memorized this utterly useless piece of information long enough to pass a test question. I now intend to forget it forever. You’ve taught me nothing except how to cynically manipulate the system. Congratulations.
• On the cruel reality of commercial art: Hobbes: Van Gogh would’ve sold more than one painting if he’d put tigers in them.
• On the tragedy of hipsters: Calvin: The world bores you when you’re cool.
• On the tears of a clown: Calvin: Isn’t it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humor? When you think about it, it’s weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it’s funny. Don’t you think it’s odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does it benefit us? Hobbes: I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life. Calvin: (after a long pause) I can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.
• On the falling of sparrows (or providence’s lack of a timetable): Calvin: Life is full of surprises, but never when you need one.
• On why winter is the cruelest of seasons: Calvin: Getting an inch of snow is like winning 10 cents in the lottery.
• On the gaping hole in contemporary art’s soul: Calvin: People always make the mistake of thinking art is created for them. But really, art is a private language for sophisticates to congratulate themselves on their superiority to the rest of the world. As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.
• On playing Frankenstein with words: Calvin: Verbing weirds language.
• On realizing God is more Woody Allen than Michael Bay: Calvin: They say the world is a stage. But obviously the play is unrehearsed and everybody is ad-libbing his lines. Hobbes: Maybe that’s why it’s hard to tell if we’re living in a tragedy or a farce. Calvin: We need more special effects and dance numbers.
• On why ET is real: Calvin: Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
• On looking yourself in the mirror: Hobbes: So the secret to good self-esteem is to lower your expectations to the point where they’re already met?
• Calvin and Hobbes quotes on the future: Calvin: Trick or treat! Adult: Where’s your costume? What are you supposed to be? Calvin: I’m yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Madison Avenue and Hollywood, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you’re old and weak. Am I scary, or what?
• On the truth: Calvin: It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…Let’s go exploring!
© 2019 Silver Disobedience Inc.