Calvin and Hobbes made a lot of mischief during their decade-long run — but just how much damage did they actually do? One intrepid superfan went through every single panel and tallied the total cost of their mayhem, from $2 cracked glass jars to $4798.83 to fix a flooded home.
Even though the Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science (PNIS, heh heh) claim to publish anything, real or fake, editor Matt J. Michel took this silly task super seriously, and rooted his research in real world figures.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raising a child from start to age 17 costs, for those in the middle-income groups, anywhere from $US226,800 to $US264,600 total […] Missing from this estimate is an explicit approximation of the amount of damage that children can cause (here, damage refers to that of the break-a-window physical kind, not that of the mummy-and-daddy-need-a-therapist emotional kind). Such an estimate would increase the accuracy of the USDA’s estimate and the budgets of new parents, depending on how destructive they project their child to be.
Obviously Michel had to take some liberties when figuring out prices for busted items.
To estimate the cost from damaged goods, I searched amazon.com for comparable items, with some exceptions (e.g., Calvin’s Mum seems somewhat fashionable, so when Calvin placed an incontinent toad on her sweater, I looked for a replacement on jcrew.com). To estimate cost for property damage, I used homewyse.com and fixr.com (using the zip code for Chagrin Falls, OH) [creator Bill Watterson’s “rumoured current residence”]. In the few instances in which a monetary value was given in the comic, I used that value.
The result? In total, Calvin caused an estimated $US15,955.50 worth of damage. Read the whole report here.