Bonkers Theory Says A Presidential Assassination Caused Garfield To Hate Mondays
Garfield creator Jim Davis, unlike, say, Calvin and Hobbes’ Bill Watterson, is hardly a recluse. He’s given plenty of interviews, plus there are all of those anthology and anniversary books out there to answer just about any Garfield question one can think of. But the Internet being the Internet, it’s never enough to take the creator’s word for it. That’s why users head to places like Quora and Reddit to ask questions like: Does Garfield hate Mondays because President James Garfield died on Monday, September 19, 1881, after being shot several weeks earlier?
Say what now? To even begin to unravel this one, a little history lesson. On July 2, 1881 (a Saturday for those of you keeping score), Garfield the person was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a political opponent who was possibly a narcissistic schizophrenic. You’d think the bullet would have killed Garfield, but it wasn’t particularly well-aimed. Instead, the President’s death was brought about by doctors who kept sticking their unsterilized fingers and instruments into the wound. The subsequent infections killed Garfield, who passed on September 19, 1881. That was a Monday.
That explains why Garfield the President hated Mondays. But why Garfield the comic-strip cat? A Reddit thread (of course) connects the yarn on the bulletin board. It goes like this: Jim Davis named the Garfield character after his grandfather, James Garfield Davis. And that grandfather was likely named after the President … although why that’s likely is unclear. “There is really no way that James Garfield Davis wasn't named after James A. Garfield in some capacity,” argues one Redditor who offers no supporting evidence other than Garfield ran for President around this time. Others agree: “There's no way that the parents came up with "Garfield" for their son's middle name by themselves, obviously he's named at least with some reference to the President since they even share the same first name.”
Not so obvious to me, but let’s go with it! Jim Davis’s great-grandparents had a baby around the time that James Garfield ran for President and they liked the candidate so much, they named their kid after him. From there, all we have to believe is that Davis a) named the comic cat after his grandfather (true!), b) knew about the President Garfield connection (possible), c) researched the assassination of President Garfield to ascertain the day he died (er …) and d) decided to create a decades-long running gag about hating Mondays in honor of that very specific anniversary.
Or the reason Garfield hates Monday is exactly the one Davis shared with the Huffington Post years ago. "Garfield does not have a job, Garfield does not go to school and every day is the same,” Davis explained. “Nevertheless, every Monday is just a reminder that his life is the same old, same old cycling again and for some reason even though his life is pretty much the same every day on Mondays specifically, awful things tend to happen to him physically."
OR THAT’S WHAT JIM DAVIS WANTS US TO THINK.