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I Don't Want To Live In A World Without Bigfoot
Peter Tatara - February 22, 2009

Remember when those two hicks proclaimed they found Bigfoot in Summer '08 and had the monster's corpse in a cooler someplace in the South? Sure, everybody knew it was a hoax, but I wanted it to be real. I mean, growing up, I was completely into aliens, werewolves, and the Loch Ness Monster. If it was unexplained, I ate it up. I loved reruns of Leonard Nemoy's In Search Of and thought that maybe -- just maybe -- they'd discover something new each time I turned it on -- no matter how old the episode was nor how many times I'd seen it before. Every time my Boy Scout troop went camping, I was certain we'd stumble into some unknown species. And, to this day, I have an honest phobia of Yetis.

So, there we were in Summer 2008, some twenty years removed from In Search Of repeats and camping trips (but, as I said, my fear of Yetis still very real), and CNN was suddenly talking about Bigfoot. For those brief, few days before it was revealed the whole thing was invented, I really, honestly hoped it was going to be genuine. Of course, that didn't happen. And I was bummed. No, really. I was really, really upset.

I mean, we live in a world with established laws and rules, and while technology is rapidly making strides with smaller computers, cleaner cars, and stronger medicines, all of these changes are evolutionary. The size and the shape of our world isn't changing. Science may be better, stronger, and faster, but the world and all our assumptions about the concrete, immutable things about it remain the same. We wake up every morning believing the sky is blue, and we take comfort in knowing this is absolute fact. Yet, what if we were to wake up one morning to see a firmament of checkered boxes or polka dots? What if something were to change? What if our basic beliefs were to be rendered wrong? What if science discovered something revolutionary? What if something completely unexpected redefined our world?

That's what happened to me when those hicks discovered Bigfoot.

What if we could read minds? Impossible? What if we could fly? We can't? Are you sure? They just discovered Bigfoot. Everything -- absolutely everything -- we thought we knew could, should, and would have been called into question. Science books would be rewritten because the magical would now be possible.

I, for a handful of days, believed this.

I believed the unbelievable. I thought that those souls investing their life savings into finding the Holy Grail or Atlantis could come home with something.

I mentioned that, growing up, I watched In Search Of religiously. Today, it's shows like Monster Quest and Destination Truth. And, just like with In Search Of, every time I do, I hold out hope that the doofy host and his camera crew tromping through the forest might just find some evidence of Bigfoot that doesn't turn out to be possum hair.

And, I think, that's what it's all about. Hope. I believed a lot as a kid. We all do. We imagine the impossible, but as we turn into adults, the world shrinks. We learn what's real and what's just stupid. The sky is blue. Grass is green. What comes up must come down. And while we may escape to the imaginary in television, books, and games, that's safe as -- even if it's a doofy host and his camera crew tromping through the forest -- it's entertainment.

Those two hicks changed this. Suddenly, the impossible wasn't just entertainment. CNN was talking about Bigfoot. This gave me the hope of a child again, and as I looked into the twilight sky after a long day at the office with young eyes, I believed again that everything we're told not to believe existed in the same world as me, my cubicle, and my file cabinets. Would there be werewolves out during the full moon? Would there be flying saucers zipping between the stars? Would vampires need to steal themselves always before the sun rose again? I smiled because I didn't know. I didn't know the size and the shape of the world. I didn't know the difference between the possible and the impossible. I believed it could all be real.

But, then, inevitably, it was revealed the two hicks just had a Halloween costume and some rotting meat tucked away in a freezer and rather than being a boy told by his parents it was just a fairy tale, I was an adult and the entire world was lecturing me. I was an idiot. I was a fool. I was a child. There's no Bigfoot. There's no Atlantis. There's no Mummy's Curse. I live in a world of cubicles and file cabinets and nothing more.

Was it silly of me to hold out this hope? To believe in a dream? To have faith in the unseen? Yes.

But I'd like to think that on a parallel world there's another me, and he's a noted cryptozoologist, and he's shaken science's basic tenets bare with his miraculous discoveries. (Note: I don't believe in parallel worlds. While Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and UFOs are totally real, parallel worlds and alternate dimensions are only for loonies.)

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