PIONEER PERSPECTIVES: I don’t believe in Bigfoot, but I do believe in friendship
While I don’t believe in Bigfoot, the legendary cryptid has found its way into my friendships, serving as an inside joke and a shared point of bonding.
I feel like every group of friends needs at least one inside joke. Whether it’s a teasing reference to an embarrassing moment or a callback to a shared experience, inside jokes can be a wonderful way to bond and a reminder of just how long your friendship has lasted.
For my friends and I, our inside joke is our shared and only semi-ironic love of Bigfoot.
It all started with my own family well before I met three of my best friends while in college. My dad would get home from a long day at work and turn on the television to unwind. Slowly, the rest of my family would filter in.
The programs we’d watch during those lazy evenings would vary: reruns of “M.A.S.H.” and “Hogan’s Heroes,” episodes of “House Hunters” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” — typical fare, all things considered.
One of our favorites, however, was “Finding Bigfoot,” a show with the premise of three avid believers and one skeptic traveling across North America in search of the legendary cryptid.
Now, I should clarify that none of my family particularly believes in Bigfoot. Despite this stance, or maybe because of it, we ended up entranced by the show and the sometimes ridiculous claims it made.
A fallen tree in the forest was obvious evidence that a sasquatch had been present, a coyote or wolf howl warped by mountains and valleys were the distinct call of none other than Bigfoot himself, an individual in one town they visited claimed to be psychic and said she communicated with sasquatch telepathically.
As residents of northern Minnesota, we particularly enjoyed when a cast member claimed everything in the state from Moose Lake to Canada was an unpopulated stretch of forest with no sign of civilization in sight.
When I went to college, “Finding Bigfoot” maintained a special place in my heart, and after mentioning it to my friends once or twice, we all sat down to watch it one evening in our shared apartment.
We didn’t know it at the time, but this was the beginning of one of our most-referenced inside jokes.
My friends immediately understood the appeal. The nonsensical and at times laughable claims, the bizarre computer-generated reenactments of witness testimonies and the overall charming absurdity of the show hooked them the same way it had my family.
Watching an episode became a regular tradition for us on quiet evenings. We’d gather in the apartment’s living room, decorated with tapestries and Christmas lights, to enjoy the cast’s zany adventures as they traveled across the country.
Now, even as it approaches two years after we graduated and went our separate ways, whenever we get together Bigfoot almost always makes an appearance.
We each have matching overalls with Bigfoot-shaped patches sewn on the front, several sasquatch ornaments and knickknacks, and this past Christmas I even tried my hand at crocheting tiny Bigfoots for each of us.
Each time I look at one of these sasquatch-related items, I’m reminded of my friends and just how much they mean to me.
What started out as a simple inside joke about a funny TV show has become an integral part of our friendship. It’s a way for us to feel close even when we’re miles apart.
While the “Finding Bigfoot” cast never did succeed in their mission, I can say that for me at least, maybe the real Bigfoot was the friendships we made along the way.
Readers can reach Pioneer reporter Nicole Ronchetti at (218) 333-9791 or email@example.com.