Growing up, I loved to read “Calvin & Hobbes.” Every time my mom and I went to the bookstore, I would be sure to check to see whether they carried any C & H that I didn’t own yet (usually, not). I built an expansive collection over the years, which in retrospect must have been expensive, but my mom never denied me a new “Calvin & Hobbes” book…you know, cause she wanted me to know how to read. And because she loves me. And because one of those things would shut me up for at least two hours.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about a particular C & H strip, but actually not the one above. It’s hard to search the web for comic strips, especially when you’re dealing with one as voluminous as Bill Watterston’s masterpiece. No, the one you see is just one I did find and happen to like…but it’s not the one I’m referring to or about to describe. Got that? In the strip I’ve been reminded of lately, Calvin is playing baseball by himself. We see him pick up his bat, toss the ball in the air, and smack it into the outfield. Then he quickly puts his glove on, runs after the ball, and manages to get underneath it to make the catch. He’s elated at his accomplishment, yelling out, “I did it!” In the last panel, he’s looking directly at us, the readers, and saying in a small voice, “I’m out.” I think we can all relate to Calvin’s reactions here. We presume that this is not his first attempt at the feat, and, having practices and persisted at getting it right, he is undeniably excited at having pulled it off. But then, once he has attained the very thing he worked so hard for, the disappointment sets in almost immediately.
Calvin learned a valuable life lesson that day, just as I think I may have from last night’s episode of “Jersey Shore” (alternate title: “According to This Camera Work, We NEVER Pick Our Noses!”). You see, last night’s episode was — what’s the word? — FUCKING BORING. Good god it sucked. I would have been less bored listening to new parents tell stories about their baby’s first solid doodie than I was watching that episode. As I sat there, watching, noting the absolute lack of drama and suspense and completely otherworldly degradation that I love about this show, I wondered to myself: why? Why is this week so bad? What happened? We went from last week’s epic to this library film strip? How could this have happened? What changed?
The answer, of course, slapped me across the face like a JWoww backfist: Sammi. She’s gone, and she took all the drama with her. I sat in stunned silence for a moment as I reflected on this realization. For weeks — no, months — I’ve wanted her gone. She was ruining the whole show, I said. It was all about her and Ron and their psychotic nonsense. I, at various times, have called her a “human candle” and a “condom wrapper,” and compared her to both the aged Steven Tyler and an overstretched drum. Last week’s CABSAREHERE moment when she finally left our world was my moment of rejoice, but now? Well, now I just feel like Calvin. I finally got what I wanted, and it sucks. And the worst part? Now I’m mad at myself for not being content with what I got, and I hate Sammi even more for making me feel so conflicted. It’s a vicious cycle. I don’t know what to do. I’M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION!
The good news is it’s probably temporary. The show suffered a little with the loss of Angelina, too, but it picked up again. I have faith in the crew to carry the show, especially Vinny and Pauly. This is their time. Sammi was Brett Favre, those two get to be Aaron Rodgers. (Speaking of, if the belt thing gets incorporated into “Shore” at some point, I will lose my shit with glee. You hear me? LOSE. MY. SHIT.) Even better, that’s not the only lesson to take away from this episode; there were plenty of other lessons to be learned. For example:
Lesson 1: The Situation, Jack of All Trades
The Situation claims to wear many hats: sometimes he’s Uncle Situation, Doctor Situation Chef Situation, Bang-a-Girl Situation — and that’s just what he tells us about. Your selling yourself short, Sitch; you’ve got way more titles than that. We can see from this one hour span alone that you have all kinds of skills. For example, when you tried to pull Pauly’s ex at Karma, you were Robber Situation. Not very creative, but accurate. Then, when that same girl declined your invitation to go back to the crib and instead snitched on you to Pauly, you’re spot was totally blown up: Blown Spotuation. Blowing up Vinny’s prank on Snooki by telling her where the crocodile is? The team accurately dubbed you Snitchuation. When you went Chef Situation style and grilled up some burgers, that was awesome. When you decided you just had to being a burger to Vinny while he was in bed, well, that was just an Awkward Situation.
You see, Sitch? You’ve got all kinds of skills up your sleeve. You are a true utility player, a wild card, a real-life version of a 5 tool baseball player. Ronnie even says you know how to drive a boat and fly a plane! But to me, based on the fact that we are now 8 episodes deep and you have yet to bed even one girl, coupled with the fact that you insisted on getting your brows done this week (“I gotta get my eyebrows done, man. It’s a process to be a Situation; not anybody can do it.”), to me you are and always will be The Situgaytion.
Lesson 2: Ron Knows Code
For the second (third?) straight week, Ron (Ed note: with Samantha gone, we will now resume calling those two by shortened versions of their names, rather than being so formal. Good thing, too. That shit was annoying.) breaks out his knowledge of gender codes. Last week, he griped a lot about Situation’s apparent ambivalence for the Guy Code and his adherence instead to the Girl Code. This week, the Girl Code comes up again after the girls moves Sam’s stuff, Ron solves the mystery of whodunnit, and JWoww lies when he asks her. He knows she’s lying, but as usual, rather than call her out on it directly, he runs to the confessional and complains about the Girl Code, claiming he can’t trust anyone.
I must say, I am in awe of Ron’s knowledge of codes. He knows not only the Guy Code — which is actually required for all guys to learn before being allowed to lose their virginity — but also the mysterious Girl Code, which male scientist have been trying for years to crack. Based on his extensive knowledge, I must conclude the Ronnie missed his calling by becoming a reality TV star (term used loosely) and part-time diet supplement shill. Instead, he should have been a Windtalker, where his code-breaking skills could be put to good use. Or, since he’s so good and learning and recalling various codes, he could be a city building inspector. Then, dude could drop some ordinance knowledge up in this bitch. Although, I’m a little concerned about his respect for all codes. For example, he got pissed at Situation last week when he thought Sitch had broken the Guy Code, but then this week expected JWoww to violate the Girl Code for him. With his ethics still a question mark, that leaves only one possible occupation for a man with his skill set: NBA referee.
Lesson 3: D Rex Has Needs, Too
Poor D Rex. She such a victim. The others keep making fun of her. She’s constipated, they make fun of her. She gets sloppy drunk, they make fun of her. She falls down and starts crying, they make fun of her. She says she wants to go home because she feels “like a joke” and no one takes her seriously, they make fun of her. BUT WHAT ABOUT HER FEELINGS, YOU JERKFACES?? Sure, she gets naked for strangers. And she consistently uses terminology like “do sex” which may or may not be indicative of brain trauma. And she may or may not have a special fondness for chocolate starfish. But hasn’t she been a good friend? Is she so different from any of you? IF SHE CRIES, DOES HER MASCARA NOT RUN?
By the way, D Rex’s stock has been in a slow decline for at least two weeks. No character causes me to reconsider my opinion of them more than D Rex. I hated her, I hated to love her, I loved her…now I just know she’s there. Step your game up, D Rex. Someone’s gotta fill the void left by Sammi’s smoldering carcass. In the words of coach Herm Edwards, “WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!!”
Bonus Lesson: Not All Grenades Are Created Equal
Can we get Bubba from Forrest Gump in here for this one? Awesome, thanks for being here, Bubba. Can you just recite this bit for us, please? Thanks. “You got your grenades…grenade launchers…submarines…tanks…A-bombs…coconut grenades…grenade stew…grenade curry…that’s…that’s about it.”
Phew. I’m glad we got that cleared up. Now I know how to properly classify ugly people, which was something I’ve really been struggling with lately. (Am I the only who thinks “coconut grenades” sound kinda delicious?)
Double Bonus Lesson: Coffee Makes You Poop
I still remember the day my boy Drama figured this one out. He’s been much less irritable ever since. If only Snooki had told us a year ago that coffee will make it “flow out of your butthole like a frickin’ rain storm,” the world might have been a better place.
In sum, it’s like they tell every kid in first grade: learning is fun. Whether it’s cartoon characters or just real people who act like cartoon characters, there’s something to learn from everyone.
Update: Once again, loyal reader rook81 comes to the rescue, this time in the form of the actual “Calvin & Hobbes” strip I was looking for:
As you can see, I was a bit off in my description, but what can I say? I haven’t actually read it in over 15 years. The idea’s still the same. Thanks again, rook81!