You can graduate from high school, or drop out, or opt to earn your GED, but some miserable part of you never leaves that period in life, and this week, that sad fraction of all of us has been called back, as if to some obnoxious assembly, by the ghosts of other lives.
I hated high school — not for one reason in particular, but for dozens of reasons just barely out of focus. The smell of soft dissolving sandwich bread, of sneakers and industrial bleach. The institutional setting: I always accepted I had to be there; I can handle blunt submission to power, but the pep rallies and the school spirit days and the dances and ceremonies — you didn’t just have to be there; you had to like it, which is a more hateful kind of oppression. All that amid puberty, powerlessness and the wanting uncertainty of what comes next in life amounted to an experience not unlike what cattle go through at livestock shows, right down to the weird glamour. Sometimes, it was fun; mostly it wasn’t, but as of 2009, it was over.
And then came, in bleak, back-to-school September — the least auspicious of all the months — allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh was involved in an attempted sexual assault during a drunken high school party in the 1980s. (Kavanaugh has denied this claim.) And Wednesday, attorney Michael Avenatti released a statement from another high school acquaintance of Kavanaugh’s, who says, among other things, that she attended a D.C.-area house party in the 1980s where Kavanaugh was present while she was drugged and gang-raped.