Calvin of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes spent a fair amount of his time wrecking things. You’re going to break a few lamps when you’re running around the house being chased by a tiger – it happens. Matt J. Michel, editor of the the parody science journal Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science, put his free time to good use and estimated just how much it would cost to cover damages when raising a kid like Calvin.
He went through every published comic and noted every instance where Calvin did damage on the page or when someone referenced damage Calvin caused. Michel then went to Amazon.com to look for the costs of comparable items. In the end, it was over $15,000. His results:
In total, Calvin caused an estimated $15,955.50 worth of damage over the duration of the comic strip (Figure 1). Damage ranged from a broken glass jar ($2 from amazon.com) to a flooded house ($4,798.83 from homewyse.com). Taking into account Watterson’s sabbaticals (see Figure 1) and the November start to the comics, Calvin caused $1,850.55 of damage per year. For context, the USDA estimates that middle-income families spend an estimated $1,750 per year on child care and education for 6 year-olds. In fact, the amount of damage caused by Calvin would rank 4th out of the USDA’s categories in annual expenditures, behind Housing, Food, and Transportation, and ahead of Education, Miscellaneous, Health Care, and Clothing.
Read the full report at PNIS. By the way, read that acronym slowly. Then skip around their site and note the sections called “HARD” and “SOFD.” Other articles on the site include “Assessment of the frequency with which men think of things: chicken wings” and “A Shakespearean translation of the last rap battle in 8 Mile, with a subsequent analysis of its quality.”