By Marc Ives
Let me start off by saying I don’t believe in Bigfoot. I don’t believe in Sasquatch, Yeti or Orang Pendek. A Bigfoot by any other name is just as fake. If there was a giant ape-man living in the suburbs of Seattle, chances are we’d have a photo of it by now, or a body, or some DNA evidence or something. The fact of the matter is the world is smaller than ever before: Everyone and their grandma has a Twitch stream or a podcast. If Bigfoot was real, some YouTube prankster would have killed him by now in an EPIC PRANK (GONE WRONG!!!). That video would then swiftly be demonetized for clickbaiting Bigfoot’s corpse in the thumbnail.
That being said, I still want to believe in Bigfoot, and not being real won’t stop me from loving him. Bigfoot is more than a myth. He’s more than an urban legend. He’s more than a couple thousand blurry images of forty-year-old men wearing homemade gorilla costumes trying to pass the time in middle America. Bigfoot is an idea. Bigfoot represents the unknown in a world without continents left to discover, where children grow up seeing HD photos of every creature walking the earth. Take a moment to think about how crazy that is. This is the only period in history where children can see animals they will never encounter in the wild. And they can do that with anything through the miracle of the internet.
There is something existentially disheartening about living in a, more or less, fully discovered and documented world. Imagine growing up in the 17th century with endless possibilities for discovery: the Grand Canyon, kangaroos, and Taco Bell’s nacho fries. And the real discoveries pouring in reinforced the idea that the unknown could contain anything. The popular imagination was obsessed with the Fountain of Youth and the Lost City of Gold.
Today? It feels like there are two types of discoveries: hyper specific scientific discoveries with no practical application to my life, or depressing technologies that actively make the world a worse place. Sure, one could argue we’re going to land on Mars in the not so distant future, but are we discovering it? We’ve been looking at Mars via satellites and robots for decades now, so it’s less like finding a new restaurant as it is going to that Panera that opened across town a couple months ago. You know what it will be like when you go there: mediocrity.
I don’t want to discover red sand. I want Bigfoot. Because if a seven foot tall ape is living in the continental United States, anything could be hiding in plain sight. Everything is within bounds: aliens, sea creatures, leprechauns, true love—it could all be real.That’s why I love the idea of Bigfoot, and that’s why it’s so sad I can’t find it within myself to believe in him. I think I would be more optimistic if I could believe in him. Maybe if he was just out of sight, so would be the solution to the climate crisis, a perfect health care system or a cure to the coronavirus.