Within the bleakness of existence, dreams grant us a release. Beyond the misery of the present moment and the understanding of the ephemeral nature of life, one finds solace in the idea of aspiration—toward a dream job, maybe, or perhaps even some vague notion of a better future. Or, for Steve Feltham, the hope of finding the Loch Ness Monster, a dream he pursued for 25 years. On Thursday, that dream died. Feltham told the Scotsman he now believes what he thought may have been the Loch Ness Monster is probably just a giant catfish.
He fell in love at age seven, the Scotsman tells us, on a family vacation to the Highlands. Perhaps this sounds familiar—perhaps, at age seven, you wished to become a professional baseball player, or a world-famous actor, or a princess, I don't know, I'm not you, kids have all kinds of dreams. Steve's dream just happened to be finding the Loch Ness Monster. And what happened to your dream? You probably gave up at some point—you bowed to the pressures of practicality, or the allure of security, or the necessity to conform.
Not Steve. Steve went balls-to-the-wall on this dream, posting up in a motherfucking "converted mobile library parked in a pub car park," which, according to my English friend, maybe means he lived in the back of a truck in the parking lot of a bar.
And you're probably wondering: How did he make money? And, see, that's exactly your problem here. Capitalism has swallowed you whole, and you're now bound to all its auxiliary needs and wants. What does it say that money was your first thought? What if you were free from the need for things, for comfort?
Steve sure sounded like he managed. He sold little handmade models of the Loch Ness Monster to tourists, making ends meet without ever giving any part of himself away. While we all compromise and justify these compromises to ourselves, Steve persevered. Steve stayed pure. And so the Loch Ness Monster probably isn't real. That's OK. Is anything? Seems a bit unfair to judge Steve for believing in something so silly when, deep down, we all do, in some way. Aren't we all trying to find some meaning in the seemingly meaningless? In this darkness there are few lights to guide us; Steve's was Nessy the sea beast.
Before you go off feeling sorry for Steve, though, you should probably check in and see how Steve himself is feeling. Here's his quote to The Scotsman (emphasis mine):
Film crews and journalists from all over the world turn up on a regular basis, and I answer all their questions, but they are invariably focused on one subject: is there a monster, or isn’t there? Which is perfectly understandable, but it frustrates me that I never have the chance to get an equally important point across: that if you have a dream, no matter how harebrained others think it is, then it is worth trying to make it come true. I’m living proof that it might just work.
May we all be so lucky to find our Loch Ness Monster.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.