To say I was an over-achiever in high school would be wrong.

It’d be a few years before I came to fully appreciate the value and joy derived from application and commitment.

At the end of my junior year, I approached band director Cleo Rucker (we called him “C.R.”) with a solution to his 3rd chair trombone problem in next year’s orchestra. A treble clef baritone player, I'd need to learn to read bass clef and the slide positions. I had an ulterior motive. My goal for senior year was to carry as few textbooks as possible. (Ended up with two: Government and Algebra 2).

C.R. loaned me a beater trombone for the summer. It sat it in the corner of my room for three months. Piled laundry on it. In orchestra class in the start of senior year, surrounded by strings and woodwinds with mad symphonic skillz, I’m wingin’ it.

Well I tried to fake it. I don’t mind sayin’ I just can’t make it.
-- Sister Golden Hair, America

A huge part of my academic under-achieving stemmed from my not actually going to class. We’d pile in someone’s car, burn rubber in the Wichita Heights parking lot and pump up the volume.

That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.
-- KC & the Sunshine Band

Our pattern was to take off right after 1st hour band. During 2nd hour Algebra 2, while I should have been learning the mean of a random variable, we’d employ our own variables. Fake ID’s + earned money = a six-pack of 16 ounce Buds. Not random at all, thank you very much.

And I’ll be buyin’ ev’rybody drinks all ‘roun.’
-- Black Water, Doobie Brothers

All my cronies had fake ID’s. Mine was the actual draft card of a guy two years older than me.

It’s just your jive talkin.’ You’re telling me lies.
-- Jive Talkin’ The Bee Gees

Spent much of my senior year working on the yearbook. Cutting and pasting (with real exacto knives and rubber cement) intertwined with the high drama of our yearbook adviser’s marital woes. His wife was cheating on him, he was miserable and confided in us. WTF were we gonna say to ease his pain? We were 17.

If you choose you can live your life alone.
-- Philadelphia Freedom, Elton John

My own romantic life was not without (double negative) teenage angst. My best friend’s girlfriend turned her attention toward… uh… me. I wish I could tell you I took the high road.

Loneliness will blind you, in between the wrong and the right.
-- One of These Nights, The Eagles

As a sophomore and junior, I can remember older friends telling me how much fun senior year in high school was. I had similar expectations for my own.

It culminated May 23, 1975, walking across the stage in white pants and platform shoes under a cap and gown in what was then Henry Levitt Arena.

Now what?

The wonder of it all baby…
-- Listen to What the Man Said, Paul McCartney & Wings