It is curious that people tend to regard government as a quasi-divine, selfless, Santa Claus organization. Government was constructed neither for ability nor for the exercise of loving care; government was built for the use of force and for necessarily demagogic appeals for votes.
Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes has always been a source of rare and somewhat underrecognized wisdom. This quick cartoon is a perfect example of the subtle lessons Mr. Watterson taught. I would call it a lesson in Adulting Childhood or Childing Adulthood.
Perhaps we as a culture were and are too fond of and yet, at the same time, to ignorant of the meaning in 1 Corinthians 13:11. Perhaps we, to our harm, put away the childlike alongside the childish. We seem to listen to our minds while ignoring our hearts’ and souls’ exhortations to find and appreciate the wonders big and small that abound in Creation.
Childhood ends, and with it normally ends many of our flights of fancy, our whimsy, and wonder at the world. So too end the lives we created for our imaginary playmates, if we had any. For the most part we grow up, put “childish things” behind us, and start the long – often dreary and tedious – process of making some accommodation with the world at large.
Indeed, if Calvin & Hobbes were to mimic reality, it was foredoomed that someday Calvin would outgrow his tigerish playmate and Hobbes would cease to exist except as occasionally dredged up memory of Calvin’s lost childhood.
The Last Calvin & Hobbes Cartoon?
There is a certain sadness that this happens at all. There is a far greater sadness in how young many children are these days when it happens.
That it happens, however, all too often because parents and teachers find the often unfocused energies and fantasies of their children to be too difficult or too inconvenient to deal with causes me far more anger than sadness – both at the proximate perpetrators and at our society, which makes their actions seemingly logical and for the children’s benefit.
NOTE: The above cartoon wasn’t actually the last Calvin & Hobbes cartoon. Bill Watterson ended the series on December 31, 1995, on a much more hopeful and upbeat note. It ended with Calvin and Hobbes hopping on a sled and going exploring.