She was 15, he was 17 both admit to drinking.
Legal limit to drink in Maryland in 1982 was 18. So they were both underage.
He said…she said.
Something happened…or did it?
Now, 36 years later under testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee…she shared way too many specific details as if being graded on total recall ability. He shown vulnerability, got angry and cried.
Hey, in 1982 I was 13 years old and tried to jump a ramp with my friends bicycle…I ended up in the hospital with a broken shoulder. I don’t remember the actual event. I know it happened because of what lots of people told me, and then me piecing together the details. With those pieces together I sort of get a complete picture and I can imagine myself flying down the street on the bike, hitting the ramp wrong, flipping over the handle bars and landing on my head and right shoulder. But I don’t remember the color of the bike, what my friends were wearing or how many of my friends were with me that day.
Oh, but maybe had I been drinking prior to my bicycle accident I would be able to remember more specific details, especially 36 years later.
Most likely, I’d be paralyzed or dead.
Memory is pliable…some elements can be altered…some details added later…and some events fabricated. People under hypnosis can be implanted with false memories. And they recall events as if they were there in that moment, yet never really happened. And people who suffer traumatic experiences create false memories to protect themselves.
The problem with false memories is they tend to be loaded with too many specific details and fabrications. False memory syndrome is a condition in which a person’s identity and interpersonal relationships center on a memory of a traumatic experience that is objectively false but that the person strongly believes occurred.
It’s a confabulation.
In psychiatry a confabulation is a memory error defined as the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive. People who confabulate present incorrect memories ranging from “subtle alterations to bizarre fabrications”, and are generally very confident about their recollections, despite contradictory evidence.
And considering the 15 year old from 36 years ago is now a clinical professor of psychology and the 17 year old now is being considered for nomination as a Chief Justice of the United States…it all comes down to who has the most convincing memory.