Matt J. Michel, editor of humorous scholarly journal Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science, has pored through every Calvin And Hobbes comic from 1985 to 1995 and estimated how much monetary damage Calvin caused. Well, that’s one way to kill time while waiting for life to shower you with meaning and happiness.
The totally crucial research finds that Calvin caused approximately $15,955.50 worth of damage during the course of Bill Watterson’s comic. Not including Watterson’s two sabbaticals in the comic’s run, this works out to $1,850.55 per year. The figure ranges from the little items (a $2 jar) to the very expensive (flooding parts of the house on five different occasions, at a cost of up to $4,798.83 per event according to Homewyse).
Here’s a helpful graph Michel made, and we’ll comment on the methodology afterward. Let’s go exploring:
Most of the damage occurred early in the comics, when Watterson had to establish Calvin’s mischievousness. Michel didn’t include damage that was alluded to but unexplained (“the salamander incident” followed by “the noodle incident”). For most items, he looked up the current cost on Amazon, with the exception of a sweater owned by Calvin’s mom, which was assumed to be more J. Crew’s speed. For property damage, Michel used estimates from Homewyse and Fixr based on the zip code for Watterson’s residence in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Wow, that’s detailed. A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.
Michel also found a pattern to Calvin’s destructiveness based around summer and winter breaks, which you can read more about at PNIS. Pronounce that website out loud a bunch of times. (Please? It’ll be funny.)
To put this in perspective, the USDA estimates it costs around $226,800 to $264,600 to raise a child to age 17, not including all the stuff of yours they smash like the little cokemonkeys they are. For a kid Calvin’s age (6), that $1,850.55 per year would be a parent’s fourth highest expense after housing, food, and transportation. At least there’s only one of him, right?