I considered turning high beams on but didn't want to stop in the middle of the road (no shoulder on this road, of course) to figure out how to turn the damn things on.
I'm sure lots of people have pointed this out already, but it is not a matter of opinion that you are being very irresponsible by continuing to operate a motor vehicle without knowing something that is required in order for you to get your driver's license. You are not qualified to drive (without knowing how to operate the high beams), simply because operation of high beams is something that is specifically tested for on the road test. Yes, you may have managed to get your driver's license without knowing how (maybe they gave your a warning and noted it on your test results?), but that doesn't mean you should have continued operating a motor vehicle without even knowing how to properly operate it. Actually, if the examiner was responsible, he/she should have guided you or taught you how to operate this very basic piece of vehicle functionality before allowing you to pass.
I might as well add another pet peeve of mine (not directed at you): how the heck do people "accidentally" leave their high beams on? Are they so blind that they cannot see the large blue high beam gauge cluster light right in front of them? If they can't even see it, then it scares me to think about what else they can't see when they're driving. If they somehow "forgot" the meaning of the symbol, then they are simply not qualified to drive - that symbol (along with many other universal indicator symbols) is specifically tested for on the written test, and again on the road test. "Forgetting" things that you were required to know to get your license is not an excuse.