Square Knot

Two ends together, holding hoop-hands with their elbows locked, intertwined. Left over right. Then right over left. The first knot a boy scout learns is the one he will never forget. It's the knot that ties all childhood memories together so they won't blow away. It's also the knot that ties two strings together to make one string reach around and hold even more.

No, I was not molested as a boy scout. The closest thing that ever happened to being molested then was when we went on a canoe trip and I was something like thirteen or fourteen, and my two friends who were brothers' father stuck his ice-cold hands down the back of my shirt while we were buying sodas at the corner store next to the river. I jumped away from them—surprised at first by the ice-cold, and then by the dripping-wet, and then by the fact that it was my friends' father's hands.

I only half-knew I was gay at the time, so part of me didn't mind, but I knew full-well that I was thirteen or fourteen and the whole situation was confusing and awkward. We just laughed it off as little more than just a joke, then went canoeing, and all things were forgotten—flushed downstream and washed away. No harm done. All dangers avoided. Returning to shore, I would never be able to look at my friends' parents the same as before.

Eagle Scout, fly away, and go camping in the mountains. Use your skills to prove yourself able to survive with only your knowledge and a pocket knife. Build a fire out of nothing and blow it gently with the words you remember from your childhood. Trustworthy. Loyal. Helpful. Friendly. Courteous. Kind. Obedient. Cheerful. Thrifty. Brave. Clean. Reverent.

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