As small town kids, we sparked 9-volt batteries across our braces, shot rocks out the lawnmower, snuck around mink farms sticking each other with rusty-nails. Lessons were eye-patches, tetanus shots, a smack upside-the-head...
Don't be an idiot.
Our parents protected us from physical deformity by threatening social deformity. Our social existence was a light-switch in their hands. We kept working on how to present better and better faces because who isn't afraid of the dark.
School introduced us to all sorts of new idiot. I got to be a math idiot, computer idiot, reading idiot, spelling idiot, sports idiot, history idiot, girl idiot. Places free from idiot we called "paradises;" places in the forests around our houses.
Paradise 1 was supreme with large cedars, a stream, a particular silence. Here, our noses were not our noses. They belonged to the warm sugar-punch of pine needle. The swish and splut of the creek carried our ears away like paper boats. When the dark came, our faces were moons.
When our minds were full of tree, everything looked like a branch we could grab hold of. We did not have to be anyone else. We dreaded bringing our minds back to becoming the idiot who tries so hard to keep from looking like an idiot.