ONE OF THE disadvantages of living a long life is that you forget much of it. Parts of the past are a closed book to a deteriorating memory, although I do remember every single embarrassing moment when I should have kept my mouth shut but didn’t, falsely thinking at the time that a clever remark about, say, a person’s lamentable haircut would be both humorous and instructive, and generally enjoyed by all. Unfortunately, those excruciating social misdemeanors number, at last count, in the millions and lay in the forefront of my consciousness while other more important things—such as, what 8 times 7 equals—I have long forgotten. It’s the normal consequence of aging, but these days what you don’t remember could hurt you.
For example, have I ever lied to Robert Mueller?
I’VE NEVER MET Robert Mueller, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never been in the same room with the man. But I can’t be certain.
Unlike our president, I’ve never made payments to an adult film actress or Playboy playmate. But does memory really serve? I admit I have seen Playboy magazine, the first time when I was 12, well before the age of consent and possibly in violation of local morality laws at the time. But copies were just lying on the little table in the barbershop, and since I had already read the old issues of Field & Stream, I decided to leaf through a different publication.
Instead of seizing it from my fingers, quelling my innocent curiosity, and using the moment to teach an important life lesson about the clear demarcations of youth, the barbers just giggled.
Anyway, a young Robert Mueller wasn’t there at the time, observing with a stern eye, carefully documenting my actions for use in future judicial proceedings. At least, I don’t think he was. But can I really be sure?