All too often, we think that these three things equate to the same thing. But this is far from true! For instance, I have not really experienced joy, except for perhaps a few times in my entire life.
And happiness? It comes fewer and farther between these days, often with considerable time periods between occasions.
Laughter? Well, it is not really strictly related to either one of these two, as you can laugh at someones sadness or pain, at unfairness or injustice, or a myriad of other subjects.
But regardless of my mood, despite my troubles, no matter the darkness in my life or the gloominess of the world, there are two consistent things that make me not only happy, but also makes me laugh my fucking ASS off.
One of these is watching the dog wipe its butt on a rug. Now, I really do not understand exactly why I find this to be so hilarious, but I can be in a Black Mood of Death with the "kill everyone you see" option, and watching my dog wipe its butt like this just has me literally ROLLING on the floor! Just thinking about it.....sorry, it brings tears to my eyes because I am laughing so hard!
But the second thing? No matter what has gone wrong, how bad I feel, what my pain levels are, or how big a turd the world just dumped on me-the one thing that is guaranteed to make me happy and bring a smile to my face?
Calvin and Hobbes.
For a 6 year old boy and his best friend (a stuffed tiger named Hobbes), Calvin understands how things work. He, like all children, sees the world as it really is, rather than how us adults say it should be. Calvin and Hobbes world is an endless adventure, punctuated by brief moments of enforced reality, but he sees life so clearly it makes you wonder just exactly what in the hell is wrong with us.
From 1985 to 1995, I literally lived for the Sunday comics, to see the next Calvin and Hobbes strip. In jail or prison, I begged, borrowed, and bribed to get the Sunday paper, I have actually gone into meth withdrawal because I spent my dope money on a Calvin and Hobbes book, and I have each and every book of the Calvin and Hobbes collection ever printed.
When Bill Watterman came out in 1995 and said that he was never going to do another strip again, I thought the world would end-alien spaceships appearing in the sky and no Spiff the Spaceman to fight them off, Tyrannosaurs destroying cities, everyone turns into Moe and Suzie, and we have to sit through an eternity of Mrs. Wormwood.
Life was over. Comics would never be the same. Oh, of course I dabbled in Dilbert and the like, went through a stage of graphic comics like Buster the Amazing Bear and others, but like B.B. King said "The thrill is gone. The thrill is gone, baby!" All We could do was hope that somehow......one day.....Watterman would come back. But it would never happen, because of the whole marketing issue situation and Watterman's integrity.
But then, the unthinkable happened. I was perusing the comics, as I always do, and in the April 11th strip of Stephen Pastis' comic Pearls before Swine, I caught a Bill Watterman reference. Funny as hell, but if you didn't know about Watterman, it would have went right past you. Anyway, it was enough to make me read the next strip (June 4th), and my suspicious nature started getting activated-it was the Crocs and the way they looked.
By the next strip, I knew. I knew......this was Watterman! The Martian robot attacks, the style, the "new second grade artist named Lib ("Bill", spelled backwards)-Watterman was doing Pastis' comic strip.
The last, and unfortunately final, strip confirmed it. Pretty much identical to the final Calvin and Hobbes strip. I did the research and found that Watterman and Pastis did indeed collaborate on this briefly, as Pastis (and anyone else of good breeding and refinement) is a HUGE fan of Calvin and Hobbes.
Because of the unrestricted and unauthorized commercialization of Calvin and Hobbes, Watterman has said that he will never do another comic strip with them-Calvin has grown up, and has left his childhood, and his sense of wonder, behind him. But all is not lost! There are glimmers of life here still. Watterman was, is, and always will be addicted to the pencil.
Can lightning strike twice? Calvin and Suzie, all grown up and with a Calvin, Jr.? A new world of endless adventure and wonder, just waiting to be experienced?
The possibilities, as Calvin once said, are endless!