Provoking images

Cartoonist Bill Watterson.

I’ve never met the guy except through his comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. But his creative talent sure invokes images that still give me a chuckle today.

Calvin’s character portrayed a rascal, kindergarten age, who tussled with life issues in unusual ways that strike consciousness with new perspectives. Hobbes was his stuffed cat, a tabby. A furball of honest friendship and common sense.

When Watterson retired in 1995, we bought his books for posterity and found ourselves reading and rereading the Calvin and Hobbes comics. Within a few years, the pages were dog-tagged and blotched with jam or dry hot chocolate.

During our empty nest phase in life, my husband and I got a couple of kittens. A brother and sister. A tabby and a tuxedo, respectively.

Unable to come up with names we’d remember, my husband watched the kittens and said, “The tabby is Hobbes. Watch him. His attitude is Hobbes all over.” Sealed deal. Calvin and Hobbes became part of our family.

Along with a granddaughter.

Our granddaughter grew up getting to know and adore Calvin and Hobbes.

When our granddaughter was three years old, she went to the doctor’s office with her mommy and noticed happy, yet solemn attention was given to a big round tummy. “What are you doing?” she asked her mommy.

“There’s a baby inside my tummy. We’re checking to see when the baby will come out,” our daughter answered.

“What’s its name?” our granddaughter asked.

“Calvin,” her mommy said.

“Oh, we get a cat,” she remarked enthusiastically.

“Well, no, it will be a baby human.”

Slight disappointment.

No worries. That was three years ago, and our granddaughter took to her brother just fine. We do however need clarification sometimes, “You mean feed Calvin the cat or Calvin my brother?”

One day, I’ll introduce our granddaughter and grandson to Watterson’s popular comic strip. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of images they get from Calvin and Hobbes.


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