The Water Horse of Loch Ness
And Our Water Horses of Life

Before I begin, I want to get all my cards out on the table or at least on your computer monitor. I’m right brained, which explains a great deal about me and my mindset. One interesting quirk is that my mind acts like a fishing net. When I get an idea that floats around in my brain, the net grabs everything that is also floating around in the vastness of my brain. The result is that after pulling my net to my computer, I see things that are similar and related to each other. Now, left brained people don’t possess that quirk, but I do. Often, while observing the interrelatedness of items, I am haunted until I get all the pieces of my catch into a complete picture.

Case in point, here are some of the items floating around in my recent catch: the movie, Water Horse, my trips to Scotland, which include Loch Ness, Nessie, George Bernard Shaw, Ginger, GiGi, Sherlock Holmes, Bobby Kennedy, dancing with death, and finding myself at 75. All these items and others have mulled around in my brain for weeks. They have haunted me, until out of frustration, I can silence them from their hauntings. My hauntings are so discomforting that I am forced to address them. Finally, I sat down in front of my computer and began the process to silence them. This might seem like a positive form of an addiction, which it is.

I had recently seen GiGi when she came up to the U. Chicago Hospital for her annual checkup. We met for dinner and discussed what had happened to each of us since we had last seen each other. In the midst of our catching up, GiGi asked, “Have you seen the movie, Water Horse?” I told her that I hadn’t. My response was indifferent enough for GiGi to say, “You must see it.”

Therefore, obeying GiGi, I did. Ginger and I watched Water Horse on one of our recent date nights. Ginger thought it odd that I wanted to see a movie other than an old Sherlock Holmes film. However, she sat through it and seemed somewhat pleased with the storyline.

Ginger Pooh might have been pleased, but the movie merely started the hauntings. The storyline is about a young couple from America that is visiting a pub located near to Lake Ness. Hey, I too have been to a nice little eatery near Loch Ness. Additionally, I have spent some time on both trips to Loch Ness of the past 50-years hoping to see the fabled Loch Ness Monster. In fact, there is a photo of the Loch Ness Monster on the wall of this pub.

A false sighting of the Loch Ness Monster

However, the couple met an old guy…who was advanced in years as I am. The old Scot, Angus, tells the American couple about another story about the Loch Ness Monster. What Angus is actually doing was recounting his life back during WWII when he was just a young kid. He was looking around the loch while collecting sea shells. In that process, he finds a large egg, which he brought back to his home where it hatched.

As it turned out, it was the actual fabled Loch Ness Monster, which Angus names Crusoe, as in Robinson Crusoe. Angus finally can’t keep Crusoe at his home, since he has grown too large. Therefore, Crusoe is returned to the loch. Nevertheless, Agnus and Crusoe remain friends.

Angus and Crusoe

This began a relationship between the two of them. However, the British military had stationed some troops at Loch Ness in case the Germans attempted to invade Scotland during WWII. Crusoe knew that if he wanted to have a long life, he must leave the loch and get into the waters of the North Atlantic. By doing so, he wouldn’t be subject to the military firing at him. Therefore, Crusoe escapes the loch and is never seen again by Angus or anyone else.

Nevertheless, that isn’t the end of the story. The legend of the Water Horse is that before it dies, the creature lays an egg as a means of perpetuating the race of the Water Horse forever. The film ends with another young boy discovering a large egg.

At one level, Water Horse is a sweet movie, which it is. However, that merely adds to my hauntings. What else is there about this film? My hauntings were in fourth gear by now. Why can’t I just enjoy a movie and move on? I don’t know, which also haunts me, but I am dealing with one haunting at a time.

This is where Bobby Kennedy enters the fray. I had written a recent essay about Bobby and mentioned several comments that George Bernard Shaw had made. One of which was “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

George Bernard Shaw

Shaw’s comment was a haunting remark for me. The others I got right away, but this one caused me angst. Therefore, the Water Horse and Shaw swirled around in my cranial cavern for several days. I have connected that statement and the movie in my mind. Shaw’s contention is that we don’t enter the world as a done deal. Shaw’s comment is that we are not people who are out looking to find ourselves. That isn’t our purpose or reason for being. According to Shaw, we need instead to create who we wish to be. What we become is what we believe is important. What we need to do is to create ourselves and not waste our time wandering in a wilderness looking for ourselves. Decide that is important. Then act. Be creative.

In reality, the Water Horse is a metaphor for our lives. Angus, both the young lad and the old man, created himself. Agnus was caring and concerned for Crusoe, the Water Horse, aka the Loch Ness Monster. There were opposing forces out there that dissed Angus’ notion like doubters and the military. Regardless of the opposition, Agnus, throughout his life, created himself by his actions and by his dreaming.

It’s interesting that Shaw was the one Bobby Kennedy paraphrased when he said, “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” Shaw’s contention is that we are a tabula rasa. It is our responsibility to create on our blank slates who we are to be.

What fascinates me personally is that I am 75 and have danced with death twice. I get that there isn’t a default button to press to find oneself. At this point in my life, I may seem like I am a late bloomer, but, at least, I am in the process of inventing who I am to be. Enter Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes was always attempting to solve a mystery and did so my creating a process within his mind that allowed him to solve a mystery. That is what I am attempting to do in my life.

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Scottish independence flag

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