Calvin withdrawals shake Chico State

By R. Eirik Ott, The Orion, California State University

Wednesday, September 4, 1996

Lately, I've felt so empty. So lost. So without purpose.

It's been like six months - no, more like nine or ten - Jesus, almost a whole year since my life has had any anchor, any focus, any direction, any guiding force. And it's starting to take its toll.

A lot of my friends feel the same. We reach the end of the week with a feeling of dread: our Sunday mornings used to be greeted with exhilaration and purpose, but now we just sort of stare at each other. Hopeless. Helpless.

If you are anything like us, then you know exactly what we're suffering from and you may be suffering from it yourself.

I'm talking about CHWS: Calvin and Hobbes Withdrawal Syndrome.

God, since that little boy took off with his stuffed tiger for the last time over that last snow-covered hill, we have just been listless and unmotivated.

We've completely lost contact with current events. Calvin and Hobbes was the only reason we even subscribed to the newspaper, and when we were done reading the strip, well, the newspaper was already there on the table so we'd usually end up reading it if we had nothing else better to do. Calvin and Hobbes was the spoonful of sugar that helped the hard news go down.

But now, who cares? Why waste the time and effort when all you're going to do is read some story about, what - the election? Who cares? I'm so far removed from the issues since CHWS set in that I don't even think I can bring myself to vote. If Ralph Nader would only promise to bring back Calvin and Hobbes, he'd have my vote. That's a campaign plank I can endorse wholeheartedly. Hell, I'd even put that crazy Texan guy with the big ears in the White House if it meant I'd get just one more Calvin fix.

It's painful, this withdrawal my friends and I have had to endure. We've tried those 12-step programs, where they try to wean you off C&H by giving you doses of Doonesbury and For Better or For Worse, but they don't even take away the shakes anymore. And don't even mention Family Circus: that's like offering a Mentos to a Meth addict.

God, and we only have one more Calvin and Hobbes book collection to go before we get cut off completely. This is so awful. Every time we think about little Calvin's bare butt as he'd race out of the tub, or about Calvin and Hobbes playing Calvinball, or Spaceman Spiff zapping alien schoolteacher with his patented freem gun, or Calvin wrestling with the noxious concoctions his mother served for dinner, or (and this is the big one) Calvin climbing into his Transmogrifier - oh, it's a shame, it's just a crying shame cartoonist Bill Watterson quit.

And you know why he quit? You sad bastards out there who bought unauthorized Calvin stickers and slapped them on the tinted back window of your momma-bought cars right next to your No Fear stickers and your Mean People Kick Ass stickers - it's all your fault, yours and the frats who pilfered images of Calvin and Hobbes dancing and pasted Sigma Sigma Suck t-shirts with them and put frothy mugs of beer in their hands.

Bill was tired of seeing people steal his life's work and mutate it into something disgusting and commercial. He was tired of facing down the company he worked for and refusing to make Calvin stuffed animals and Hobbes lunch pails. He didn't want to cheapen the characters he created. So, since he couldn't stop the Calvin and Hobbes vandalism, he quit.

You bunch of jerks, I'd like to smack the piss out of every one of you. If you buy one of those unauthorized stickers, (and they are ALL unauthorized,) you are just making Bill remove himself from the world one more step. He's going to be just like J.D. Salinger and disappear forever.

First it was The Far Side. Then River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain. And now Calvin and Hobbes. Jesus, what's next? What's left?


Copyright (c) Wednesday, September 4, 1996 by The Orion, California State University

Eirik Ott, aka Big Poppa E, was a member of the San Francisco Slam Team that tied for the championship at the 1999 National Poetry Slam, & is most famous for his "Wussy Boy Manifesto."