When Calvin met Hobbes, they were a bit more rounded than their more mature form. Bill Watterson had not yet drawn them each a thousand times, and to a big “Calvin and Hobbes” fan looking back, they look a little strange. Calvin announces that he has set a tiger trap, and then we see Hobbes, hanging upside down from a rope tied around his leg, happily eating a tuna fish sandwich.
Watterson later wrote that at the time, he thought it was important to establish how the two first met. In retrospect, he realized that this probably wasn’t necessary. After all, the first “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip did not appear in many newspapers, not even Watterson’s hometown newspaper. Readers drop in and out of the world of Calvin and Hobbes at a whim, so the characters could dispense with formal beginnings and endings.
While I see Watterson’s point, I also think that this first strip, in which Calvin meets Hobbes, has more worth than he admits. True, I didn’t see it until I had been reading the strip for years. However, when I did see it, I found an odd sort of importance in the circumstance of their meeting. After all, two people who know each other very well can never again meet for the first time. The memory of their first moments in each other’s company will always be a unique story they share. Calvin and Hobbes had many adventures and many conversations, but the tiger trap baited with a tuna fish sandwich was their very first.
As a young single man, my cousin was getting on a plane for a business trip, and he happened to board at the same time as a beautiful young woman. Whether they spoke right then or not I do not know, but my cousin wanted to make sure that the two of them got off the plane again at the same time. As passengers filed past, he knelt and untied his shoe, then retied and untied it again until she appeared. They were the last off, because she had gone to the back and changed into her work clothes: a stewardess uniform. Today they have two young girls and an infant son.
Long ago, when my aunt wanted a young man to take a more special notice of her, she took the dog outside and stood at the street corner, calling the dog. She called and called, the dog looking up at her in what I can only imagine must have been terrible confusion, until the man appeared. Today their children are grown and married.
One of my current roommates thought I was a social clown when we first met. He still does, but it makes a great story anyway.
As a college freshmen, I began singing with the Glee Club. Since my very first day at auditions, the group has proven to be one of the most important parts of my life, and to this day I haven’t the faintest idea why I showed up to audition.
Beginnings are important, but only in retrospect. In the moment, I say just wing it. Set your tiger trap. Stand at the street corner, calling the dog. I’ll be tying and untying my shoes.