As often as I've thought this tale to have reached an end, it rears its ugly head.
It's time to write a friggin' novel. Here it comes (in unsorted pieces):
We'll start with the first legal-encounter, way back in highschool (was it "The Year 2000"?)...
Back in those days I might've been deemed amongst the nerdliest of nerds. I took Japanese not because I was interested in Anime nor Pokemon, like the majority of my classmates, but because it was a good move for business relations in the tech-fields; I'd been doing electronics circuits since I was 6y/o, began working in IT (with full district-wide network-admin privileges) at the school-district between my Sophomore and Junior years of high school and continued to do-so for nearly a decade thereafter.
I'd skipped a grade in math back in middle school, then my middle school math teacher "followed me" to my high school (cool?). In my Junior year of high school, I started taking college classes. My day was split between math with my ol' pal the math-teacher and classes at college (a full college load being three classes). I bussed between these two campuses, each day, taking nearly an hour each way, three trips total (home was somewhere in the middle), three hours a day spent on busses.
The first thing I noticed about that (community) college environment was that people were there because they wanted to be there to learn and better themselves, not because they were forced to by some system, nor by the expectations of parents or others. I felt astounded, to say the least... Here people actually cared about their (and others') educational experiences. And lo-and-behold [most] teachers/professors respected that, nevermind the grown-up decisions of their students, enough to not even bother taking attendance.
I got sucked-in to that level of dedication almost immediately, and as soon as I'd started, I had no intention of continuing with the partial-days, planning to switch to full-days at college the following semester (which, was a bit difficult since high school worked on the semester system and college was on the quarter-system).
Now, I'll take a step back to have an ol' throw-back to my grade-school (K-10) experience... I can't recall *ever* skipping a day of class in my entire grade-school-[only] experience. In middle school I was often called out of class to work in the computer lab (where I was responsible for setting up the image used on all the computers). This was definitely permitted, and I still managed to pull A's and B's in all my classes. (I even came in on summer-vacation to wire-up the building with ethernet, crawling through the crawl-space with only two boards preventing me from falling through the ceiling tiles!)
I was sick, one day, in middle school, wherein I asked my dad to let me stay home, and he said essentially if I was well-enough to ask, then I was well-enough to attend. That day I was sent home by the school nurse as contagious, and caught a bit of guilt for the call's having interrupted ol' Pa at work. From there-on I never bothered to even try to "call in sick" nor was ever sent home again. Raised somewhat "mind-over-matter" I seldom got sick in the first place, and only that once to the level of contagious. The only days I missed were those of dental/vision appointments and pre-planned family vacations. Meanwhile, who knows what my classmates/friends had been skipping class for: mall-trips, movies... Seems there were days everyone knew was a skip-day, some even seemingly-sanctioned by teachers, and yet I was somehow left-out of all of these. I knew of a bush near my middle school where some of my closest friends hid inside to smoke weed instead of attending class, and I know of others who literally smoked weed *with* the security-guards (we went through three guards in three years!). One Time I tried smoking a cigarette in that bush, went immediately home and showered and brushed my teeth for hours on end for fear of what guilt I might be given for something my...Read more »