So all this talk of judgment day and judges got me thinking about jury duty. That and the fact that I didn’t want to waste this story.
My wife was just called for Jury Duty…again. Her second time in the last 4 years. It’s like they were watching the calendar for the four year grace period to expire. Last time she sat for two weeks as an alternate on some sort of a fraud case, then was excused just as the case was turned over to the “real” jurors. I can’t tell you how much that annoyed her. Being a second string juror was bad enough, but more than that…she wanted her pound of flesh! And, even MORE than that, she wanted her court ordered, but not provided, Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Salad (dressing on the side), which she was not allowed to take home with her! All I heard for weeks was “No Justice…No Lunch… No Justice…No Lunch!” So this time she says, “If I’m not starting, I’m not departing!”
She’s also a fan of old baseball adages.
As for me, being a self-employed, freelance worker person was literally, in the past, a limitless get out of court card. I always argued that I might be sitting around a month between projects, decide it’s safe to go to court, only to find twenty messages on my phone, from multiple clients, checking my availability to take on various projects. Then I would have to decide if it was better to bolt the court house and risk the US Marshall Service breathing down my neck (because that would be the best use of their time), or possibly lose what could amount to more than half of my income for the year. And it’s been my experience that clients don’t like to be turned down, so future earnings have to be factored in as well (hey…it could happen). So summons after summons all I need do was send in the same exquisitely worded letter, over and over again, explaining that if I was in court, I wasn’t available to work, and if I didn’t work, I didn’t get paid. And that was that.
But then sometime in the late 90s they got wise to all the lame excuses and changed the rules. So despite my best efforts, I’ve already “served” twice in the last ten years; once in Federal and once in County. It’s only a matter of time until the wheel comes around and lands on my number again. But I have to say it really isn’t all that bad. Unlike the DMV, which has a whole department dedicated to devising new and better ways to make you suffer, the court folk actually make it a point, in a civil service government kind of way, to be nice to you. They even show you a nice patriotic movie, featuring some trendy actor or actress thanking you for your service. They let you know how patriotic and essential you are. They make you proud to be an American! And to be honest, if you’re a regular, paid employee, on staff somewhere, it’s got to be better than working. And contrary to what some might tell you…bathroom breaks are allowed...but cell phones are not.
Sometime soon I'll tell you about my experience in County Court. Needless to say, it was one not to be imagined...at least by anyone other than me.