The saddest Calvin & Hobbes cartoon you’ll ever ignore because you have more serious things to do.

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Just Say No, Parents.

Calvin & Hobbes, & Ritalin.

A young family friend was raised on Ritalin. He was hyper and happy and motivated and bouncing off the walls and…his parents didn’t want to deal. So, Ritalin, yah, was more for them than it was for him.

Let’s consider whether hyperactivity is more a result of a lack of exercise, a real food diet, encouraging discipline and timely affection…a lack of time spent outdoors skinning knees and climbing trees, pretending this and that and swinging a baseball bat…instead of babysat by video games and TV.

And let’s discuss alternative options to drugging our children.

Or, at least, let’s slow down ourselves, enough to contemplate this Calvin & Hobbes cartoon. Unless we have more serious things to do, of course.


A complex issue that deserves our undivided attention. More exercise, more bicycling, more real food, less TV…is a start.

Relephant read:

Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD 


Related videos:

Walk the Talk with Waylon Lewis on Children:

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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


82 Responses to “The saddest Calvin & Hobbes cartoon you’ll ever ignore because you have more serious things to do.”

  1. Ali says:

    Ridiculous article. I would never get anything done if it wasn't for adderall. And it doesn't "kill my personality." In fact, I think it allows me to be more true to the goals I have set for myself.

    I went through life for 19 years thinking I was just a lazy individual who was smart but had little chance of succeeding in a world of hard workers. Now, I see that this was not a crippling character flaw– although note that this raises questions regarding whether "character flaw" is just the term for a pathology we cannot detect or treat yet– but rather a difference in my brain chemistry. I, and my roommate, simply don't experience the dopamine response non-ADD/ADHD people have when fulfilling obligations. As such, we are much less likely to fulfill them. Throughout my education, as soon as I was given the freedom to fail to fulfill an obligation, I would. I had perfect– literally perfect– grades until my parents stopped watching me do homework. Note that this is of course not their fault, as kids must grow up and become independent. But, given the freedom, I began doing exponentially less work and fewer assignments until my Senior year GPA was a 2.89. I made it to a good college, though, because my GPA only really dropped off to atrocious levels in that last year of high school, due to (a) the freedom of driving myself to class, which, in accordance with ADHD, was accompanied by me always being late and, towards the end of the year, skipping multiple classes a day/week, and (b) substance abuse which I got into as self-medication for the intense emotional pain I felt as a result of feeling like a failure all the time. And the thing is, it's not just academic/work related obligations that suffered. Any task I mentally knew I had to do, and "put my mind to," I simply could not carry out. Have to buy a tux and corsage for prom? Sorry, going to do that the day of prom. Have to clean my room? Not likely. Want to work out and then get to bed by 11? Oh, I hope you mean you want to watch 6 hours of Netflix and get to bed by 5 AM with a nice 1.5 hours of sleep before the sun shines through your room and reminds you how badly you have messed up everything in your life and have never put effort and time towards any goal in your life, you absolute failure. Why not kill yourself honestly? What are you doing here?

    Even at my college, my first semester was atrocious. I probably went to 10-20% of my classes, and that's generous and only that high because I had a discussion based class that I only missed a few times towards the end of the semester. I literally never went to Math, Bio, or Chem. Laundry piled up, my living space was a mess. I essentially never fulfilled the obligations that a normal person has to on a day to day basis, let alone anything extra or impressive like the varied pursuits of my upper-class-kids-that-go-to-good-schools peers. I'd had all their same advantages, so why couldn't I succeed like them? Again, I saw myself as a failure.

    For much of this time, my friends– many of whom have ADD/ADHD (fun fact: 1/3 of people are affected)– tried to convince me that I have it. My friend and roommate had told me that his ADHD– which had manifested in a very similar way to mine– did not align with the "distracted by a squirrel while trying to homework" monolith often portrayed in popular media and unfortunately ingrained in the minds of many people. For him, he just tended to not fulfill obligations whenever possible.

  2. Ali says:


    It was a powerful, tragic dissonance: on the one hand, I knew, with every fiber of my mind, with every breath I took, that I needed to be doing X. But, there seemed an unbridgeable chasm between this full understanding of the necessity of X, and my ability to execute the actions required to fulfill X. I simply would not do things I had every intention and every capability required to do. Big things, small things, you name it. Since this site seems fond of pictures, I will share a webcomic that accurately portrays this feeling: . I thank Randall Munroe for creating that comic and adding to the body of evidence that ADD/ADHD is not a monolith of direct distraction and hyperactivity, but also presents as what Harvard Psychology PhD Roberto Olivardia defines as, "Intention Deficit Disorder;" he states, “ADD really should be called Intention Deficit Disorder, since it is a problem where someone has every intention of doing something yet find it difficult to execute the plan to achieve their goal. It can be very frustrating.” (source:…. This captures, essentially to a T, most (and by most, note that I mean the vast, seemingly unending, majority) of the first 19 years of my life.

    Another quote from the previous source that is instructive: “It can also help to understand where others are coming from,” Olivardia said. He shared this example: “I know it is hard to understand. You see me as bright and accomplished. It probably is hard to imagine that doing everyday things — like getting out of bed, chores, paying the bills — take so much effort for me, but they do. ADHD has nothing to do with intelligence.”

    As I said at the beginning of this post, which has truly been cathartic to write, if it wasn't for Adderall, I would never do anything. The roommate that has been integral to me figuring myself out has expressed the same sentiment, saying of my first college semester, and I don't remember the exact wording but I perfectly recall the communicated idea, "If it wasn't for Adderall I would have missed all the classes you've missed."

    All my life, teachers and my parents and, eventually, administrators would scratch their heads and call me into meet with me, and somehow investigate the reasons how a bright kid– my roommate and I both have the equivalent of a 2250+ SAT, which I say not to brag but to provide necessary context and state unequivocally that the common association of ADD/ADHD and lack of intelligence is simply not consistently reliable– could possibly be getting worse and worse grades each year. Every year, I would say that I was trying, or that I have trouble with time management. I would wonder how they didn't understand? After all, my only reality was one in which converting a wholehearted priority– a "yes I must do this and want to attain the result that doing this requires"– to an accomplishment– "yes, I have done this"– represented a mountain to climb, a balloon soaring above me, many miles of distance– the distance grew each year as I became more sad– separating my desperation from its silver string. I couldn't understand how people could be so focused, and so productive, and so capable of turning their prioritized goals into tangible results. As recently as weeks ago, I felt that I had never accomplished anything, because I felt that I had never applied myself, and for whatever reason I couldn't bring myself to do so. I could not compel myself to apply my capabilities in sustained effort toward a desired goal. Do you know how frustrating that is? You don't, or you would not have made this post.

  3. Ali says:


    With adderall, I haven’t missed an assignment, and I sit in class confident that whatever the teacher assigns I’ll start, middle, and finish with joy. Because, finally, I have the neurological response to work to match my conscious desire to work. I am finally able to achieve what I want. Because of Adderall.

    I don’t write this out of a personal anger, though I am passionate here– I feel strongly about this subject. It saddens me to think there are many like me out there, who simply haven’t had the people in their life yet to show them that they aren’t an inherent problem within the human condition. A virus. A parasite. I write this, mainly, as I would write a piece against someone who claims climate change to be false, vaccines to be unhelpful or non-negligibly dangerous, or perhaps believes gravity to be false– though there aren’t many deniers there. Funny how time and universal effectiveness (we all come back down when we jump) will do that.

    • Mar says:

      Thank you. Just this week, I had another "mood swing". It seems we share similiarities. Not bragging, but my brain can process so much information that most people could only dream of … yet I do not have any motivation to use it. Right now I feel overhelmed by work, depressed by my laziness and procrastination. Sometimes, meditation helps to get in harmony, but when I get back to work, it starts again.
      So far, I haven't thought of ADHD. Did not had reason to. Still, I believe that everything can be overcomed. I don't believe so much in medication (only when it is not bearable, like migraine). But I am tired of wasting my days and my potential as a human being.
      Thank you. Now I know that there are people like me. I would love to find a way to overcome this with natural meanings (not drugs), but atleast I know where to start.
      Good luck, may the Force be with you (and everyone else that reads this)

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