Homicidal Psycho Jungle Ken

This morning I was given The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (Volumes 1, 2 and 3), which may be up there with one of the best Birthday Gifts ever. In the world. Published in 2005 and weighing in at 23.4 pounds, I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. Hell, I gave it to my son for his eight birthday and talked about it and talked about it and talked about it. Which, you know, HINT!

I also received a couple of pair of really cool sneakers, but the only pair of sneakers I’ve ever felt emotionally tied to were my first pair of Nike Air Tech (Hot Lava) kicks back when long-haird Agassi ran the courts. So I won’t go on about the shoes at length.

Like many people, I can’t actually put into words how much Calvin and Hobbes affected me. I guess I can sum it up in one way: If you don’t like Calvin and Hobbes, then you have no soul and you will rot in whatever level of Hell people like Hitler, Stalin and Mao are sitting in.

For millions of people who were of reading age between 1985 and 1995, Calvin and Hobbes was the only reason to pick up the daily paper. For years I’d try to draw the duo. Back in the day, I wasn’t exactly a slouch at drawing. I’ll say this much. It’s a hell of a lot easier to draw any Disney creation than it is to nail Calvin down. Of course, it wasn’t just the drawing. The drawing was only half of it. Bill Watterson’s stories were something else entirely. Something that had no parallel in newspapers.

The closest I’ve come to ever getting a tattoo was freshman year in college when a group of friends (known as “The Hobbes Family) almost went all in on matching tats of Hobbes standing behind the Aztec symbol associated with the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex Magic” album. (That one was drawn by a girl named Nicole who shares a birthday with me.) All I can say is thank god we were all broke at the time.

And I don’t think it’s mere coincidence that with Bill Watterson’s exit from the funny pages, papers started their death spiral. Even while Watterson was penning Calvin, he had strong words about how stale the comic pages were in newspapers, chock full of three-panel gags and, worse, strips that have been around since the Great Depression, no longer being drawn or written by the original creator. Things have only gotten worse, with many papers just dropping comic sections completely because they cost money and, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, people don’t read them. Here’s a tip, geniuses: Get rid of the classics and let in fresh voices. Language warning: AND WHO THE FUCK NOT BORN IN 1919 WANTS TO READ GASOLINE ALLEY?!?!

And then there’s Bill Watterson, the man who broke all our hearts when he pulled the plug on the strip in 1995. And who never allowed t-shirts and stuffed toys and TV shows and movies. And who quit giving interviews and has dropped completely off the face of the earth. From what I can gather, he’s either the most principled man in the world, a true “artist,” someone with social-anxiety disorder or a sanctimonious inconsiderate jerk. Or a mixture of all of the above.

Not surprisingly, I totally identify with him. (Well, except for the money thing, because I’d sell out in a heartbeat.)

At any rate, I can’t wait to curl up with Calvin and Hobbes for the gajillionth time. If nothing else, the set goes a way to erasing the taint of a certain recently released book purportedly about Bill Watterson.

The set, much like Dorothy Boyd did for Jerry Maguire, completes me.

Now, changing gears, another thing completing me this morning is the Deathwich, a birthday ritual of mine. I stole the name Deathwich from my friend Doug. It works on two levels. It’s a sandwich that could kill you. Or it’s a death-wish on bread. Awesome.

It’s pretty much what you’d expect and, in previous years, I always took a little delight in watching the deli guy’s face register when I placed the order. It usually goes like this:

Me: “Two eggs, cheese, ham, bacon and sausage on a roll.”
Him: “Ham or bacon?”
Me: “Both. And sausage.”
Him: “Oooookay, then.”

Except today, it went like this:

Me: “Two eggs, cheese, ham, bacon and sausage on a roll.”
Him: “OK. By the way, we call that the Hungry Man here.” Then he pointed to a sign. Sure enough, what was once known as the Deathwich has become a common, everyday, heart-attack inducing occurrence.

What’s wrong with yall, America?

2 thoughts on “Homicidal Psycho Jungle Ken

  1. Ahhh. Calvin and Hobbes. I bought every copy as soon as it came out (much like your book-can’t wait!). I would sit in my room and read them cover to cover laughing my ass off. My Dad would come in with a sandwich for me and I would want to share something Spaceman Spiff was doing and he just didn’t get it. I never knew we shared this Ken! How great someone else who GETS it. At the beach house, I have a blown up copy of the frame with Calvin and Hobbes in bed and Hobbes telling Calvin if he doesn’t get a goodnight kiss he’ll have Kafka nightmares. I think of that every night when I kiss Phil goodnight. Happy Birthday!

  2. since i can’t just come to your cubicle anymore, due C&H were my life. I have all the individual books (or almost all — I had some stolen in college). Never thought of getting the entire set. Shit. Not too late for Christmas!

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