The Calvin Effect

Andy’s PCL buddies were up and visited Seagull Lake….Trent, Mike, and Mark, on their annual spring trip, also spiced up our Winter Tracks broomball game. Lucky us! Unlucky Mike, but he is sure a good sport, even while headfirst in the snowbank, even while taking the ball to the lips, and becoming Charro-for-the-day.

During lunch Mike and Mark sat at the counter and noticed a stray Calvin and Hobbes book. Shelby and Daniel have collected them all; Daniel studies them, and has a Bill Watterson (creator) worship thing going.

Twice last week, visitors at the kitchen counter noted that comic book.

And both times, we had to pause for a moment of connection. I had to smile for a second to bond with somebody else who recognizes the brilliance behind Calvin and Hobbes.

Yesterday I was talking on the phone to one of my favorite Quetico travelers. I haven’t actually met this guy from East Peoria in person – I was someplace with the kids when he visited – but I can always recognize his deep drawling voice, and we have really good phone conversations. He had to cancel his summer trip, because his plant closed.

We not only hear it on the news, we hear it on the phone. The middle schoolers from Indiana live where the unemployment rate is now 12%. My heart goes out to these folks, and I worry. All the experts have opinions about toxic assets, the mortgage crisis, the stimulus packages. These are sober times, there is plenty to be concerned about…

Then, I notice the book on the counter and remember Calvin. It occurs to me that I can learn from Calvin. Part of the profoundness of his comic philosophy is that he actually spends his time subtly pursuing the purpose of life.

But at the same time, he’s enjoying the wild ride.

I’m calling this the Calvin Effect. Life is full of serious issues, sad circumstances. And in no way do I mean to minimize those. Yet Calvin manages to consider it all from the playful side.

Other important books say the same thing, but …today…I’m listening to Calvin..

“Sometimes it seems things go by too quickly. We are so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”

” I say if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously reexamine your life”

“You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.” (click on the comic if you want to actually read it)

“Get out the time-fracture wickets Hobbes, we’re gonna play Calvinball!”

Every once in awhile, on lucky days, you get a chance to hang out with somebody who embodies the Calvin Effect….a human Calvin. I’d say, never pass up those moments!