One night about eight years ago my then-girlfriend woke up in the middle of the night to see me sitting on the couch, talking to the dog.
I had to go to sleep, I was explaining to him, which meant we'd have to stop talking for the night. But the following day he could ask me anything he wanted.
I have no memory of this. I believe it happened.
I thought about this yesterday during a recess in Brett Kavanaugh's hearing, shortly after he'd tried bullying DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar off a simple but devastatingly effective line of questioning, just the sort of thing a former prosecutor like Klobuchar might come up with to damage a witness' credibility. Or get him to perjure himself.
Klobuchar tried pinning down Kavanaugh, who has admitted to bouts of binge drinking during high school and college -- and talked more about beer yesterday than the entire University of Minnesota undergrad student body -- on whether he had ever blacked out from drinking.
Had he ever drank to the point of forgetting what he'd done the night before?
News outlets are focusing on the moments when Kavanaugh, under this slightest bit of pressure, snapped, flipping the query around on the questioner: "I don't know," he said, his face pinching into an odd little smile. "Have you?"
This was the part Kavanaugh apologized for after a recess in the hearing. "Sorry I did that," he said, sounding a little like a teen trying not to get kicked off the tennis team for teabagging a freshman.
But Kavanaugh's snide comeback at Klobuchar isn't the important part. It's his actual answer, the one he gave moments before, which went like this [emphasis ours]:
KLOBUCHAR: OK. Drinking is one thing, but the concern is about truthfulness, and in your written testimony, you said sometimes you had too many drinks. Was there ever a time when you drank so much that you couldn’t remember what happened, or part of what happened the night before?
KAVANAUGH: No, I — no. I remember what happened, and I think you’ve probably had beers, Senator, and — and so I…
As research for this blog post, I asked a number of my friends, both heavy drinkers and those who've only dabbled, if they've ever had a night where they'd forgotten how it ended; every single one of them had. Some were funny: waking up to an empty pizza box they did not recall obtaining, or doing "puddle angels" in rainwater.
One friend had a visitor, a grown and seemingly unathletic man, become emotional while watching figure skating because "he'd never learned to skate" as a boy and "could have been beautiful."
I once woke to the sound of my friend peeing on the front door of my house. To be clear: He was inside the house at the time. Another friend recently told me that three different roommates would eventually piss in the same closet, which each of them had, in a blackout state, mistaken for a bathroom.
One night at a party at my house, a friend discovered that, for this night only, any time he started singing the chorus of the song "Lean Back," I would involuntarily start doing the dance from the song, like some kind of Weekend at Bernie's wind-up doll. This got laughs. I wish I could remember them.
Other blackout stories were a lot less fun: puking up punch bowls' worth at a New Year's Eve party and waking up in a hospital; getting beat up and mugged on the street; trying to talk a woman he'd only just met into giving him a blowjob; serious bicycle accidents; waking up at home, to the drinker's surprise, with his or her car parked outside; waking up in a home they didn't recognize -- sometimes sharing a bed with someone else.
Brett Kavanaugh was under oath Thursday. Thanks to Klobuchar's simple, straightforward question, he's on record as saying he never, ever, in his life, has done something while drunk that he didn't remember the next day.
Those wary of putting the alleged perpetrator of multiple sexual assaults on the U.S. Supreme Court are one credible witness away, one person who says, "I had to tell Brett what happened the night before," from proving he perjured himself before he tried bullying Amy Klobuchar.
Saying "sorry I did that" to the senior senator from Minnesota was a good first step. But, oh, Brett. You have so, so much more to apologize for.