I’ve always wondered why almost every culture in the world, seemingly independently, came up with the idea of dragons. There are no other mythical animals that so many humans imagined independently and took to with such vigor.

Personally, I know with absolute certainty that I would never have come up with the idea of a dragon. A dragon looks like a fairly random combination of animals that aren’t even seen hanging out together, much less reproducing. A dragon looks like a bat-lizard. Or a crocodile-moth. Or a T-Rex-eagle.

Think about it. Basically, the entire human race fantasized about creepy T-rex-eagle fusion. First of all, we accepted this as completely plausible. We then came up with a “logical” conclusion, and we wrote books about dragons, why they are so powerful and why we should fear them. There are people that read these books and take them literally. Isn’t that ridiculous?

I’m not really that afraid of dragons. First of all, they don’t seem to pop up much in everyday life—at least not mine. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve thought “Man, I’m glad I didn’t run into any dragons today,” I would need to rely heavily on an alternate source of income.

Moreover, I’ve always thought that dragons might be unfairly represented in the media. They are vilified, portrayed as murderous, lecherous creatures with a hunger for gold which really makes no sense. Since we’re not mercantilists, I doubt that kind of payment would be readily accepted by an Applebee’s cashier. It’s not like dragons can carry paper money, which is extremely flammable. Overall, the whole anti-dragon sentiment seems quite excessive, especially since they don’t even exist.

Then again, the possibility stands out to me: Maybe dragons really do exist. Perhaps all of those people were right, and their faith isn’t horribly and illogically placed. I think, when I was younger, I entertained the possibility of dragons, and the world did seem like a better place. I was comforted by the concept of an incredibly powerful being that, for whatever reason, didn’t kill its human inferiors. I believed that dragons had decided to leave us alone and were just content to watch us go about our business. They were benevolent and kind, and if you looked at them the right way, they were even beautiful.

But as I grew older, I think scientific understanding started to take hold, and my fantasies of dragons dissolved into reality.

I now know that dragons most probably don’t exist. There’s no way, biologically, physically or even metaphysically, that dragons could be real. They’re just a whisper that thousands of people happened to breathe at the same time. Maybe, if they are real, dragons wonder what we think about them. Maybe they’re laughing at the concept of us “believing” in them.

One thing’s for sure: If they’re watching, they certainly don’t believe in us.