Speaking of pioneer mythologies, America is largely responsible for giving the world the stereotype of the self-made man.
It would be so nice if it were true - but even those of us who were invented out of a scrap heap have someone in our history who deserves credit and gratitude.
That fellow we now call Professor Doctor Byron Cook did not spring forth from the earth a world-class research scientist. In fact, he did not even finish the eighth grade. He was an excessively problematic youth and he was lucky to encounter some adults who were willing to give him a chance.
Where? Within the walls of an alternative school called Mountain Open.
This week we went to visit his high school mentor, now retired from education and embarking on new adventures.