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High school sucks. It sucks now, it sucked in the twentieth century, and it was probably sucking since the beginning of time, which must have been at least a couple hundred years ago. This 1963 ad from the National Social Welfare Assembly reminds you that the only thing that sucks more than going to high school is not finishing it.

But I considered dropping out, once upon a time. I thought about just acing the GED test and getting on with my life. You know, leaving behind the dull drudgery of a conformist indoctrination camp to enjoy the dull drudgery of a conformist labor camp with paychecks.

I never did it, though. I toughed it out — okay, I slacked it out — and got out a semester early by taking some correspondence courses. One of the courses was a literature credit. It was about science fiction books, including such classics as The Martian Chronicles and Stranger in a Strange Land. I had already read all those books by age eighteen! Twice! So, it was a pretty easy course. And soon, I got my release papers. While all my friends wrapped up their senior year, I got a night job working 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. That might sound rough to you, but I loved it! Up all night, sleep all day! Yes!

Reflecting on those times, I wonder how life might have been if I just opted for the GED — missing out on those soul-crushing final years of petty teachers and ridiculous assignments and waking up at 7:30 to face a day of extreme boredom. And, I learned a little something about the GED, too. Did you know it was originally designed in 1942 for military personnel and veterans?