Sunday Funnies

| February 7, 2014 | 1 Comment

When I was in third grade, my school had a book fair. I wasn’t really too sure how it worked. All I knew was that when I went up to the desk at the front, I was given ten dollars in monopoly money and then let loose in a room full of books. By now, I was practically hopping up and down. I had ten whole dollars to spend on whatever books I liked, and I had no idea where to start.

Well, maybe that’s a tiny bit of a lie. I had some idea where to start: I had to get a book about space. Third grade was around the time when my (still-running) space obsession began, and I was determined to learn everything about it. So I looked for books about space. And I didn’t find a single one, except for a few kindergarten-level ones. But I was determined, and I kept looking. And then I spotted it: an orange cover and big, bold white letters: “Weirdos From Another Planet!” it proclaimed. Weirdos from another planet? Aliens? Now that was what I was looking for, I thought. I picked it up. And then I realized it wasn’t a book about space; it was actually that comic strip that I saw in the newspaper every Sunday. The one about the boy with the spiky hair and his tiger friend.

The one called Calvin and Hobbes.

I bought the book. I figured that if I couldn’t find a book about space, I might as well buy a book where the characters go to space. I think it might have been the best decision my third-grade self ever made. Hell, it was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my twenty years of existence. On the bus back home, I started reading the book. Half an hour and about twenty-five pages later, I almost missed my stop. I spent most of the rest of the evening devouring the book. And then I read it again two days later.

Over the years, I’ve bought more and more Calvin and Hobbes books; I even brought one of them with me on my first day of freshman year at BU, and I’ve brought it back with me each year. Over the years, I realized that some of the most important things I’ve ever learned have come from that 6-year-old boy and the too-real-to-be-imaginary tiger. I learned that traveling to Mars isn’t too hard; all I needed was a little red wagon and a little bit of imagination. I learned that even if lucky rocketship underpants don’t make a bad day better, there will always be a new day. And I learned how to play Calvinball.

In Calvinball, there are only two rules: it can’t be played the same way twice, and  you always have to wear a bandit mask. When I was a kid, I figured that Calvinball was just a really funny game in a comic book. Maybe I’d get to play it some day. A few days ago, as I jaywalked across Comm Ave, worrying about what I’d do after graduation, I realized that I’d been playing Calvinball all my life. I just didn’t know I had the mask on. By jaywalking across Comm Ave, I’d unwittingly added my own rule to the game, at least temporarily. It felt strangely great, as if I’d found a way to walk through brick walls; I’d spent way too long worrying about the rules that had been put in place for me, when all along I could have made up my own rules – just like a game of Calvinball.

The very last Calvin and Hobbes comic strip ends with Calvin and Hobbes on a toboggan. “It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy,” says Calvin, “let’s go exploring!”

Which is exactly what I intend to do.




Tags: , ,

Category: Art and Literature, featured, Philosophy and Religion

Neel Dhanesha

About the Author ()

Neel Dhanesha (CAS '14) likes books. And photography. And books about photography. And photographs of books. When not reading or photographing, he can be found stabbing people at fencing practice or writing.

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Emma Kalff says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this post, it’s beautiful. Calvin and Hobbes is definitely a life-altering comic strip

Leave a Reply