If You Think Your Kid Is Expensive, Try Raising Calvin From ‘Calvin And Hobbes’
My favorite comic strip as a kid was, hands down, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. It’s also pretty shelf-stable. I recently picked up a copy of The Revenge of the Baby-sat to foist on my kid because she’s gotten into comics lately and I have to confess that she never got her hands on it because I am a grown up so I get dibs on everything.
I noticed two things about Calvin and Hobbes as I was reading it, namely that it’s pretty deep for a comic that was popular with kids, and holy wow, Calvin does a whole butt load of damage to his parents house. As a kid I never took too much notice of that but as an adult, I couldn’t help but think, who’s gonna clean that up? Well, someone took the time to figure out just how much money Calvin cost his parents, and it’s pretty glorious.
Matt J. Michel researched and published his findings in the Honest and Reliable Data Journal, which is a sub of the Proceedings of the National Institute of Science, or the PNIS-HARD (lawl). This comes in the wake of the USDA’s finding that raising a child from birth to age 17 will cost most middle income families somewhere in the horrifying range of $226,800-$264,000.
Okay, I’m back now. I had to walk away for a second to weep at that idea. Anyway, Michel recorded instances of property damage for the 10 years of Calvin’s “life”, and came up with the staggering cost of $15,955.80 that included everything from the large (Calvin floods the house not once but five times), to the small (like broken glass). Michel even used repair, service, and cost estimates from Calvin’s specific region in Ohio. It’s pretty thorough.
Michel also pointed out that Calvin did the most damage during January, February, and August, which caused the researcher to come to an interesting and spot-on conclusion:
“Increased damage during these months may possibly be a reaction to the injustice of going back to school after a long break (Winter and Summer vacations). If so, than it is clear that schools should abolish these breaks; money saved from the lack of physical damage can cover the increased tuition costs.”
Now, I’ve said before that because I find it hard to care a lot about material or physical goods, I’m pretty understanding when a kid (mine or someone else’s) comes into my house and starts fucking shit up. However, I’m not sure if I could handle a Calvin. Vibrant imagination and adorable hair spikes notwithstanding, he sounds like a very expensive handful of suck.
In conclusion, Michels noted that, “In parenting, you have to take the bad with the good. With a kid like Calvin, it’s probably mostly bad. But even raising a kid like Calvin has its good moments…which are well worth the extra $1,850 a year.”
I don’t doubt that. To be safe, though, I’m going to add “potential Calvin” to my list of reasons not to have another child.