We’ve all been there…
The ultra-boring class, the meeting that just would not end, the family gathering that — well honestly you’d really rather be having a root-canal.
What can you do?
Escape, that’s what. Sure, as you get older the escape is material. That is you can manufacture actual reasons to leave the room.
The fake text from your spouse; “Emergency at home,” you say. A child pick-up; “Oh, crap,” you say, “I’ve got to get my kid from [insert soccer practice, track, the nurse’s office here].”
Or the better yet, and this will get you out of damn near anything, the stomach virus. “Sorry, Bob,” you say, “I can’t make it for this meeting today. Yeah, sick. I’ve got that stomach thing that’s going around.”
The stomach bug is virtually bulletproof since there is always a virus going around and nobody — and I mean nobody — challenges diarrhea. Fake a cramp, groan a little and well, there you have it — sick day.
Unfortunately, as a kid getting out of anything is difficult. Mainly because adults know how badly kids don’t want to do anything. Especially what we might ask them to do — got to school, bath time, cleaning, homework, chin-ups.
How do I get out of this one?
For a six year old, who really can’t manufacture plausible and foolproof escape plans with profound consistency what options are there?
Create an alternate persona, for one. In Calvin’s case, it’s Spaceman Spiff a daring alter-ego who triumphs over challenges be they large, small or gross and oozing. And if you’re going to bother creating an alternate persona, you might as well build an entire alternate reality for someone like Spiff to reside in one replete with blaster rays, blazing space craft and the occasional inter-planetary adversaries
At will, mostly when the mind wanders or can no longer handle the material reality which surrounds it, Calvin battles enemies of all stripes…
…using any weapons necessary to defeat his chief adversary — boredom.
Maybe, Calvin — or should I say Spaceman Spiff — is on to something. Maybe like his classic predecessor, Walter Mitty with his secret lives, Calvin reveals an interior world founded in imagination and creativity.
Yes, he is a daydreamer, and one would be hard pressed to find a single strip in which Calvin isn’t dreaming. Which, when you think about it, is actually a good thing.
Without his capacity for redrawing the limited boundaries of his world, Calvin would not only lack his alter-ego of Spaceman Spiff but also his best-est and most magical friend ever — Hobbes. And what kind of fun would his world, or ours, be then?