Wow, I don’t remember three words said so many times by so many people in such a short period!
In his recent testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding his role in the continuously unfolding Russian saga, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said those words over twenty times…
Evidently, “amnesia” has long been a tactic used by witnesses in criminal and congressional investigations – but I, uh, don’t recall - these particular words being used so constantly, so pervasively, so relentlessly – as in these last few months.
Of course, Nixon, Clinton and “Scooter” Libby all took their turns with the “I don’t recall” excuse. But in the end, it didn’t “walk the dog” in terms of their being exonerated from their “crimes.”
(So wait, when President Clinton was accused of “having sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky,” did he actually say, “I don’t recall”? Evidently, he did. I wonder how Monica felt about that…)
Okay, but what if the “I don’t recall” technique becomes “the way it is,” the thing you say when you want to “get out of it;” the “trouble” you’re in, that is.
What if it’s catching?!
- “Sweetheart, did you finish your homework? It’s time for bed, you know…”
Your daughter: “I don’t recall”
- “There was a chocolate cake on the table a little while ago. Do you know what happened to it?”
Your son: “I don’t recall.”
- “Hey, you never uh, dated that guy who still calls you, did you?”
Your wife: “I don’t recall.”
“Listen, your mom just called me and said that you were at our house for dinner tonight! Did you actually tell her that?!”
You (at the age of 13): “I don’t recall.”
But seriously, side-stepping the truth with phony words like “I don’t recall” is a really cheap way out. We’re better than that, aren’t we? And isn’t it better to take the heat and the consequences than to be forever mistrusted?
When our daughter, Abigail, was in the third grade, she found herself intrigued by the fire alarm in the school hallway and sort of “fiddled around” with it. Of course the alarm went went off and six of New York’s finest fire trucks arrived, sirens blaring, fire hoses at the ready, dozens of fireman pouring through the school.
When everything calmed down, the headmistress asked the students if anyone knew “how this had happened.” Abigail immediately raised her hand and said, “I do.”
She was applauded for her honesty and felt like a million bucks for “fessing up.”
We all mess up at one time or another (hey, maybe even more than a few times!) Fessing up is the only way out…even if the consequences can be tough to take. I mean, it’s true that our “judgement” might be temporarily questioned. But at least our honesty won’t be…
I move that the phrase, “I don’t recall” be banished from our vocabularies now before it’s too late. All those in favor?
Hear that General Sessions?
Take a listen: