January 12, 2018:

Turned out I had a counselor. Who knew?

Miss Stewart. Great favorite of the good kids. They all loved her. I'd heard her name, but had no idea she had anything to do with me. She did.

It was all terrifically unjust. I loved Chemistry but failed it. Got 100% on each of the tests, but failed the class. The teacher had me demonstrate the labs to the others, I was that good: but he flunked me. I knew the course material inside out, but was given an F.

How can this be?

Because he graded by a formula: 1/3 tests, 1/3 written labs, 1/3 homework. The arithmetic turned out this way:

0 for homework. I didn't do it, 'cos the answers were in the back of the book, and the kids simply flipped it over and wrote them down. To this day I'm not sure of the purpose of that 1/3 grade — penmanship?

Also 0 for labs. I didn't write them up, 'cos I'd fucking demonstrated them. Right? So I naturally assumed he realized I'd done them, expertly. Sorry, nope. 0 for labs.

33 for perfect tests.

So. (0 + 0 + 33)/100 = F.

Miss Stewart said, You don't have enough credits to graduate. I said, What's a credit? She said, The points you receive for completing classes. I said, I've completed a gazillion classes, why don't I have enough credits? She said, Because the gifted program classes are non-credit. I said, Why was I never previously informed of this? She said, angrily, Because we don't expect gifted program kids to flunk chemistry. I said, How many more credits do I need? She said, One. This was my sole conversation with my counselor, ever. Held at fast-walking pace dashing across the lunch court while she was on her way to something she undoubtedly enjoyed more and took more seriously.

There was a meeting. My mother was there, sobbing. She said not a word, instead she sobbed plenty. Didn't stand up for me, didn't ask questions. Just sobbed. She should have threatened lawyers and media. "Is it school policy to fail students with 100% test scores? Or just this one incompetent chemistry teacher?" Nope. Just sobs. There was Miss Stewart, and the Principal and me. No chemistry teacher? Why not? 'Cos nobody gave a fuck. No questions about what happened? Why not? 'Cos nobody gave a fuck.

Which is only fair. I didn't give one, either.

Really, its was their way of telling me to fuck myself for being truant so frequently.

A few weeks later I learned that one of the good kids, actually one I'd known since grammar school, was also somehow short a credit. But he was a good kid, so they did some juggling and found one for him. In fact I was told that was pretty common. For the good kids, not for me. For me the Diploma Nazis said, No diploma for you!

So I don't have one.

How'd I get into college? Because universities don't actually care if you have a high school diploma or not. They're not gonna check. They just want your money. So, I'd lied. Duh. I didn't stay long enough for a degree there, either.

How'd I get a professional career, with no high school diploma and no college degree?

Not really a mystery. By lying some more.

Kids: bottom line is nobody gives a fuck. They're just bureaucrats. They aren't gonna check your truancy stories, they aren't gonna check your diplomas, they aren't gonna check your references. They really don't care.

And what if they do? Fuck 'em, work somewhere else.

Seriously. Simple as that.

This would be a lesson to Miss Stewart and the principal and the others who thought they were punishing my truancy by denying me a diploma. Sadly they're all dead by now. Well, not that sadly. I'm perfectly happy they're all dead. I wish they'd been dead before I met them. In a moral and spiritual way they certainly were.