Calvin and Hobbes on Accessibility

The complete set of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, from my talk: Calvin and Hobbes on Accessibility.

On giving a talk

Calvin and Hobbes walk along, discussing Calvin's school assignment

Calvin: I’ve got to give a 5-minute oral report in school on Thursday. We’re supposed to research our subject, write it up, and present it to the class with a visual aid.
Hobbes: That’s a big assignment.
Calvin: I’ll say. I hate my teacher. She know we’ll all do it on the last evening, but she gave us three days to worry about it.

On why people dislike accessibility

Calvin and Hobbes hurtle along in a buggy

Calvin: There’s a new girl in our class.
Hobbes: Well! What’s her name?
Calvin: Who knows?
Hobbes: Is she nice?
Calvin: Who cares? Not me!
Hobbes: Do you like her??
Calvin: No!

On accessibility guidelines

Calvin takes a bath

Calvin: I hate being a kid. Somebody’s always telling you what to do or what not to do. “Do this!” “Stop that!” Day after day. You’re lucky you’re a tiger.
Hobbes: Well, we try to stay humble, but lord knows it’s hard.
Calvin: I wonder if I can grow fangs when my baby teeth fall out.

On not suing people

Calvin and Hobbes play American football. Calvin gets tackled hard.

Calvin: What this game needs are negotiated settlements

On not making it cool

Calvin leans nochalantly against a tree.

Hobbes: What are you doing?
Calvin: Being “cool.”
Hobbes: You look more like you’re being bored.
Calvin: The world bores you when you’re cool.

On growing up

Calvin sits at a desk doing his homework. Hobbes stands nearby, helping.

Calvin: I need help on my homework. What’s a pronoun?
Hobbes: A noun that lost its amateur status.
Calvin: Maybe I can get a point for originality.

On being good at what we do

Calvin takes a bath.

Calvin: Well no matter what, we’re in big trouble unless we think of something fast!
Hobbes: I suppose we could try being good.
Calvin: I must’ve gotten water in my ear. What did you say?
Hobbes: Nothing. Forget it.

On not pretending there is secret sauce

Calvin and Hobbes play baseball.

Calvin: Ha ha! A home run!
Hobbes: You didn’t touch all the bases!
Calvin: I did too.
Hobbes: No, you didn’t. You didn’t touch seventh base.
Calvin: Yes, I did! I touched the water barrel right after the front porch.
Hobbes: That’s not seventh base. That’s twelfth base!
Calvin: I thought the garage door was twelfth.
Hobbes: The garage door is twenty-third base. You touched them all out of of order, and you still didn’t touch the secret base.
Calvin: The secret base?? What’s the secret base?!
Hobbes: I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.

On recognising it isn’t an exact science

Hobbes kisses Calvin.

Calvin: Hobbes, have you ever kissed a girl?
Calvin: Really? What was it like?
Hobbes: …Only a lot MORE so!
Calvin: GAACK! I was hoping it wouldn’t be so fuzzy…

On sometimes getting it wrong

Calvin launches himself from a swing.

Calvin: Wheeeeeeee… Houston, we have a negative on that orbit trajectory.

On not doing it all at once

Calvin and Hobbes make a giant snowball. Hobbes buries Calvin in it.

Calvin: This is going to be the biggest snowman ever built! People will come from miles to see our gigantic snowman!
Hobbes: This won’t go any more. It’s too big to push.
Calvin: Ok, leave it here.
Hobbes: I’m exhausted!
Calvin: Well we can’t stop now! We need nine more of these!
Hobbes: Nine more?!
Calvin: Sure! This is just one of his toes!

On needing a plan

Calvin's mom reads the papers as Calvin wanders past.

Calvin: Paul Gauguin asked, “Whence do we come? What are we? Where are we going?” Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but I came from my room, I’m
a kid with big plans, and I’m going outside! See ya later! Say, who the heck is Paul Gauguin anyway?

On accepting that users will confound you

Calvin hides behind his snowfort, but Hobbes attacks with a snowball from behind.

Calvin: My snow fort makes me invulnerable! From behind its thick wall, I can launch a brutal snowball barrage and remain safe from retaliation. You’re
supposed to attack from that side of the fort, dummy!!

On doing user research

Calvin and Hobbes read over Calvin's homework.

Calvin: I think we’ve got enough information now, don’t you?
Hobbes: All we have is one “fact” you made up.
Calvin: That’s plenty. By the time we add an introduction, a few illustrations, and a conclusion, it will look like a graduate thesis. Besides, I’ve got a secret weapon that will guarantee me a good grade! No teacher can resist this!
Hobbes: What is it?
Calvin: A clear plastic binder! Pretty professional looking, eh?
Hobbes: I don’t want co-author credit on this, Ok?

On some people being more vocal than others

Calvin rules from his treehouse, before his mom carries him off to bed.

Calvin: As dictator, I have the sole voice in government! I will not tolerate dissent! I alone shall decide the good! I alone shall…
Mom: Time for bed Calvin.
Calvin: Couldn’t we vote on this!

On keeping it simple

Duplicate time traveller Calvins pilot their time machine box, while duplicate Hobbes' watch.

Calvin: Hobbes, the 8:30 Calvin and I are going to go back to 7:30 and make that Calvin do the homework.
Hobbes: We’ll wait here. All this time travel makes us queasy.
Calvin: We’ll be right back. Off we go!
Hobbes: This has to be the least efficient way to write a paper. All this modern technology just makes people try to do everything at once.

On not getting distracted

Calvin and Hobbes rejoice that school is closed, before heading off to play in the snow.

Calvin: Ha ha! They just announced the schools are closed! It’s a snow day! Wheeeee! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Hobbes: Talk about luck! Now you can do your homework and you won’t get in trouble!
Calvin: Right, but there’s over two feet of snow that requires our immediate and undivided attention.
Hobbes: First things first.
Calvin: Math will still be there when the snow melts.

On finding common language

Calvin helps himself to the cookie jar, before his mom suggests he has fruit.

Calvin: I’m hungry, can I have a snack?
Mom: Sure help yourself. You can have an apple or an orange from the fridge.
Calvin: Even though we’re both talking english, we’re not speaking the same language.

On listening to each other

Calvin and Hobbes smash into furniture while charging around the house.

Mom: Calvin, quit charging around the house!! What did I just tell you?!?
Calvin: Beats me. Weren’t you listening either?

On asking questions

Calvin plays in the snow rather than doing his homework.

Hobbes: Aren’t you supposed to be doing homework now?
Calvin: I quit doing homework. Homework is bad for my self-esteem.
Hobbes: It is? Calvin: Sure! It sends the message that I don’t know enough! All that emphasis on right answers makes me feel bad when I get them wrong. So instead of trying to learn, I’m just concentrating on liking myself the way I am.
Hobbes: Your self-esteem is enhanced by remaining an ignoramus?
Calvin: Please! Let’s call it “informationally impaired”.

On trusting your instincts

Calvin sneaks up on Hobbes, but still comes off worse after scaring him!

Calvin: Uh oh, I’ll bet Hobbes is waiting to spring on me as soon as I open the front door! I know, I’ll sneak around back and surprise him! Heh heh! There he is, all ready to pounce! What a sucker! I’m home! I’ve got to start listening to those quiet, nagging doubts.

On being innovative (but also practical)

Calvin and Hobbes walk along chatting.

Calvin: “Live for the moment” is my motto. You never know how long you’ve got! You could step into the road tomorro and – wham – you get hit by a cement truck! Then you’d be sorry you put off your pleasures! That’s why I say “live for the moment”. What’s your motto?
Hobbes: “Look down the road.”

On fixing it for our future selves

Calvin and Hobbes race down a hill in their buggy, then along a pier and into the lake.

Calvin: Do you think grown-ups will have the world fixed up by the time they hand it over to us?
Hobbes: Not the way they’re going.
Calvin: That’s what
I thought. I guess that means it’s up to us then.
Hobbes: Somehow, I’m not reassured.
Calvin: Ha! When I’m president, I’ll have things whipped into shape in no time.

Because the future holds many possibilities

Calvin and Hobbes race down a hill in their buggy, but eventually come to a stop.

Calvin: Let’s go down the hill and see if we can travel into the future.
Hobbes: Go into the future? How? Calvin: It’s easy! All we have to do is get going real fast and we’ll time-warp! Ha ha! Faster! Faster!
Hobbes: Gosh, what do you suppose the future will be like?
calvin: Who knows? Flying cars and cities built on clouds maybe! Just think of all the weird things we can tell people we saw! Oh boy! Hey, we’re at the bottom of the hill. I didn’t feel any
time warp, did you?
Hobbes: Nope.
Calvin: But look! It’s two minutes later than when we started! We’re in the future!!
Hobbes: Hmm…things haven’t improved. I’m disappointed.

So let’s go exploring!

Calvin and Hobbes rush down a slope into the distance on their sled.

Calvin: It’s a magical world Hobbes ol’ buddy… Let’s go exploring!