To paraphrase E.B. White, the perfect sentence is one from which nothing can be added or removed. Every word plays its part. In my more giddy moments, I think that a simple comic strip featuring Calvin, a preternaturally bright six-year-old, and Hobbes, his imaginary tiger friend, features some of the most lucid sentences committed to print. And when I sober up, I usually think exactly the same.
Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes ran between 1985 and 1995. His comic strip managed to infuse wondering (and wandering) on a cosmic scale into an ageless world of lazy Sunday afternoons, snow goons and harassed babysitters. I’m not saying that you should take moral and philosophical guidance from the inventor of Calvinball (a game that runs on chaos theory), but you could do much worse.
So here, in no particular order, is a selection of quotes that nail everything from the meaning of life to special underwear. Enjoy.
And Just For The Kicks, Some More from Calvin and Hobbes :
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.
Calvin: Isn’t it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humour? 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.
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.