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Scholar Publishes Study on How Much Damage Calvin Did During Calvin and Hobbes

(Image: Bill Watterson/GoComics)

How much damage can a 6-year old do? A lot! But "a lot" is a vague quantity. What was the financial value of Calvin's damage? Matt J. Michel published an article on that subject in the Proceedings of Natural Institute of Science, a humorous scholarly journal.

It's a noble application of statistics to practical needs. Michel acquired the entire print run of the comic strip and concluded that Calvin cost his parents almost $16,000. He explains:

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[6] ($2 from amazon.com) to a flooded house[7] ($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. However, it should be reiterated that Calvin is presented as a worst-case scenario. If you believe your child does more than $1,850.55 in damage annually, then you may want to consider professional help, alternative forms of punishment, or, at the very least, take away their stuffed tiger.

-via 22 Words


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