It’s no secret that kids have a tendency to drain their parents’ bank accounts. And a particularly mischievous youngster like Calvin from Calvin And Hobbes—the syndicated daily comic strip by Bill Watterson that ran from 1985 to 1995—can rack up quite the bill. Just how much? Matt J. Michel, editor of the part-serious, part-satirical science journal Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science (PNIS), conducted some pretty legit research to estimate how much monetary damage Calvin and his partner in crime/tiger friend Hobbes did throughout the comic strip’s lifetime. His expert conclusion: $15,955.50, which works out to $1,850 per year.
Michel was as serious and meticulous in his not-so-groundbreaking work as a NASA scientist. His fastidious methodology included documenting each instance of property damage, and then calculating the expenses using the regional labor and material costs of Watterson’s hometown, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. (Exhibit A: Calvin caused five house-flooding incidents at expense of $4,798.83 each.) As for the value of the items Calvin destroyed over the years, Michel sourced his pricing from Amazon, save for Calvin’s mother’s sweater—which he deemed high quality enough to use J. Crew as his benchmark. In the spirit of academic legitimacy, Michel did not include incidents that were merely mentioned in the comics, but not explained, in his data set. (Remember that mysterious “noodle incident”?)
Michel concludes with a half-horrifying, half-heartwarming note:
“If your little bundle of joy grows up to be a Tasmanian devil of terror, you can expect to pay almost two grand extra per year just in replacing or repairing items… In parenting, you have to take the bad with the good. With a kid like Calvin, it’s probably mostly bad. But even raising a Calvin has its good moments (like here), which are well worth the extra $1,850 a year.”