Now, you might think it is all mere Calvin and Hobbes fun. Well, think again!
You want to think about the rules in tennis? In cricket? The strike zone in baseball? Or, how about trying to explain what "offside" in soccer means? Or, ...
Once you step outside your fanatical interest in any particular sport, you immediately realize that all those are nothing but variations of Calvinball. If you are not convinced that it is all Calvinball rules, try explaining, for instance, the rules of cricket to a third generation Cubs fan, or the rules of American football to a maniacal Arsenal hooligan!
Some Calvin in the past came up with a game. A couple of buddies were the Hobbes. They played and had fun. A couple more kids wanted in. Soon, these kids became adults and indoctrinated their kids into the game.
At some point, kids stopped coming up with their own Calvinballs. I suspect it is not because kids are no longer creative, but it is because adults preclude the creation of Calvinballs by teaching them the bizarre Calvinball rules of other games.
We make Calvinball even worse. As we grow older, we are even keen on paying others to play Calvinball. And we pay them gazillions of dollars. Instead of getting dirty and tired from playing our own Calvinballs, we pay to watch tennis players, and basketballers, and footballers, and golfers play. One of the most remarkably stupid things that we humans could have ever come up with.
The British Open Championship in golf is underway. If you plan on watching it, then think about what kind of crazy Calvinball that is. A guy hits a tiny ball with a stick, and the goal is to direct that tiny ball into a small hole far away. Similar to the crazy rules in the comic book version, this real world game involves penalty if the ball falls in the water, or if the player moves the ball even a fraction of an inch. Is this not Calvinball?
The awful aspect is how we pay shitloads of money to these people playing Calvinball in order to entertain us. Consider this, for instance: the designated hitter of the Red Sox earns 14,500,000 dollars. And that is merely for 2013. What does he have to do for that? Swing at a ball that is thrown at him and connect with it in a way that produces runs. That is it. 14.5 million dollars for one year!
Keep in mind that the earnings in the graphic below are only for the latest year, and are not cumulative earnings.
earnings figures include all salaries and bonuses paid out between June 1, 2012 and June 1, 2013. So in the case of baseball players, the listed salary will include salary from the 2012 and 2013 seasons, as well as any signing, award or playoff bonuses. ...
Endorsement income is an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing fees for the 12 months through June. The golfers income include course design work. We do not deduct for taxes or agents’ fees and we do not include investment income.
Think for a minute on what MS Dhoni's 31.5 million dollars mean in India. At about 60 rupees to a dollar, that is about 200,000,000 rupees. About 200 crores, as they say in India! Look away from the computer before you puke ;)
As I have noted many times before, the US is not the only country that is so keen on entertainment. At least we are only burning up the money that the Chinese have nowhere else to park. It is terrible when a country, like India, where hundreds of millions don't even have access to drinking water, spends gazillions on Calvinball.
What is even worse? The Calvinball playing gazillionaires championing humanitarian causes. Oh, how their hearts bleed!
But, hey, if we didn't spend the gazillions on Calvinball, then we would not need those celebrities to reach into our wallets--yes, our wallets, not theirs--to spend on research for drugs that can treat, if not cure, diseases. Or, to build schools in villages somewhere. Or to save that rare species. Right?
I suppose in our own individual ways, we are all Marie Antoinette saying, "let them have cake" while we are entertained by ballplayers and comedians and singers and actors and .....
I, too, am guilty. I can't seem to figure out how to make peace with this :(