Jury Duty!

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 6:15 p.m. in , , , ,

If you were one of the 4000 people who received a yellow letter in the mail summoning you to jury duty, as I was, I’d be very curious to know your reaction.  My reaction was, “Why me?  Why now?”  Just that morning on my happy walk through the woods where a mysterious Good Samaritan had cleaned away the enormous trees that I clumsily climbed over for months, I was attacked by bees and stung three times on the arm.  Then my husband phoned me at lunch to tell me that I had received a letter from the Ministère du Justice and did I want him to open it for me.  Bees and jury duty in one day makes me wonder about fate, destiny, and all that other existential stuff.

It is one week later and over the course of the week, I’ve discovered that many of my fellow Townshippers are experiencing the same call to be the lady with the scales, Lady Justice herself, and their reactions are joyful.  Most people have responded with fear.  What will I be asked to do?  Will it be some gory murder trial?  That certainly crossed my mind. Show me blood and I’m going to faint, and then have nightmares for the next twenty years.  Luckily, I never tried to work in an Emergency Room of a hospital because people showing up with things sticking into their bodies that should not be stuck in their bodies would just render me useless and possibly unconscious as would photos of the same.

There’s also the level of fantasy about delivering a guilty verdict to some gangland criminal and spending the next twenty years, (I’m kind of stuck on the number twenty in this article – I apologize for the repetition), living in fear of someone hunting down jurors, one juror at a time, once he got out of prison to fulfill his goal of the ultimate revenge.  You think you’re safe, and then, wham-o!

People who know that I write – whatever that means, we all write, we all have stories to tell only some of us are brave enough to put it on paper – where was I?   Yes, I was being a writer.  People who know of this habit of mine tell me that jury duty is a wonderful opportunity though I’m not sure to what.  My imagination is good enough for me, thank you very much, and most of us have sat through enough episodes of Law and Order to have a sense of the courtroom.  My nephew-in-law has told me on a number of occasions that this is patently untrue; courtrooms in real life are not at all like they are on television.  If that’s the case, I don’t need to sit through something more tedious than Law and Order to get a feel for courtroom tedium.  Tedium is exactly what writers are not supposed to convey, so I am hesitant to perceive jury duty as a golden opportunity.

What I find truly fascinating is that the people who have NOT been called for jury duty say that they wish that they had been summoned.  Maybe someone should go on television and say, “Who wants to do jury duty?  Call this number and come on down.  We will see if you’re the kind of guy or gal that we need!”  I bet they’d find people who would work out just fine.  There would be people who would be willing to give justice its best shot.  Unfortunately, most of the people that I know just aren’t champing at the bit to get into the courtroom and participate in the wheels of justice.



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