Saturday, September 22, 2018

Kavanaugh v. Ford, Trial By Ordeal

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse 
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader

"Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin."
                                                                                  -Barbara Kingsolver

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,

[This week's column was supposed to be the fourth and final part of my short story, Abducted, but I couldn't resist commenting on the current kerfuffle concerning the Supreme Court.]

Legal Definition of Trial By Ordeal: a formally used criminal trial in which the guilt or innocence of the accused was determined by subjection to dangerous or painful tests (as submersion in water) believed to be under divine control. A tip of the hat to Merriam-Webster (.com).

H. sapiens are subject to false memories, this is settled science.

If you live long enough I guarantee that at some point (probably several points...) in your life this factoid will jump out from behind a rock and bite you on the bum.

"Memories can be distorted, or even completely made up."

BOMS (boring old man story) No. 39,339. Oh, for the record, I don't think I'm a boring old man. You are permitted to (respectfully) disagree. However, there's a 57.092% chance that any given story, about any given thing, by any given old man -- rut-roh, Raggy -- um, person, will be boring.

[BOPS it is then, far be it from me to inadvertently trigger a delicate flower in an era of delicate sensibilities.]

Long story short, when I was 16 I engaged the services of a friend, and his Ford Falcon, to drive me and a cool chick (hey, it was 1970) on my first real date. Cost: a set of spark plugs.

Given that it was my first real date I remember all the details vividly. Except for the drivers last name and what he looked like. And except for the name of the movie theater. And... well, I do vividly remember the name of the movie, Klute, starring Jane Fonda.

One problem.

While discussing this important milestone of my adolescence with the cool chick in question, who is back in my life after an interlude of 40 years or so (we've both been a little busy...), I discovered that I vividly remember the wrong movie.

I know for an absolute certainty that Klute is not only the wrong movie, but it also came out a year later, while I was living approximately 300 miles from the movie theater I can't remember the name of.

However, the unalterable fact that I have a vivid memory of the wrong movie has had no effect on my vivid memory.

Now, if you refuse to acknowledge that you -- or yours, or theirs, or _______ -- are as capable of significant memory distortion as any other H. sapien, you can stop reading here. Good luck to you, you're going to need it.

At the moment, the Republic is knee deep in a drama titled He Said/She Said. No matter how it's resolved, Grandstickies will probably remember it, probably inaccurately. Great-Grandstickes will learn about it in history class.

Plot summary: A SCOTUS nominee -- having emerged from a trial by ordeal chock full of senators running for president and daily dramas performed by some, um, excitable citizens exercising their free speech rights, apparently unscathed -- is this close to being approved.

Suddenly, a female H. sapien steps out from behind the curtain and accuses the nominee of having tried to have his way with her. 36 years ago. When she was 15. When he was 17.

Hilarity ensues.

As this is being written the Swamp Dwellers League, the Infotainment Industrial Complex, the International Union of Professional Perpetually Protesting Protestors & Perpetual Victims of This, That, and the Other Thing (IUPPPP&PVTTOT), and social media, are at DEFCON 1.

Were I the king, and asked to apply some Solomonic wisdom, this would be an easy one.

A Proclamation

Given that no amount of investigation could possibly come up with a definitive answer,

And, given that the Republic already has more than enough apparently unresolvable issues,

(And, given that the brain of the average H. Sapien doesn't mature till the age of 25)

And, given that Mr. Kavanaugh has a lengthy, proven track record, Mr. Kavanaugh may join the Supremes.

Let's move on people, nothing to see here.

P.S. A note to my subjects: While I hope that we recover before things go too far, we're a republic that is currently in decline. Without compromise, and the willingness to lose gracefully, a democratic republic will collapse.

No shortage of factions regards their opinions, beliefs, and sensibilities as unquestionable dogma. No compromise is possible as compromise is a sin. God -- or a God-substitute for those who have lost their religion -- is on their side.

Sticking a finger and each ear and loudly proclaiming la-la-la-la-la-la-la! didn't work when you were kids and it won't work now.

Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day.
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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer   

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