I request excuse from jury duty, explaining I am psychologically unfit and would be unable to afford a shred of credibility to any statement or testimony spoken by a judge, lawyer, police officer, or expert witness. They deny my request, noting my capacity to inhale and exhale was a sufficient condition to serve.
Last time this happened I had trouble finding the parking garage, and then, once inside, I couldn’t find a place to park. I saw no signage whatsoever. That means exiting the garage, getting into an argument with the attendant who wanted me to pay for an hour’s worth of non-parking, finding out where I was supposed to go inside the same garage, demanding to know why the FUCK there were no FUCKING signs in the whole FUCKING garage, drawing the attention of a cop who told me to watch my mouth, get back in my car, and go park because I was already late and was risking contempt of court, if not arrest.
It’s not even 8 AM yet.
By the time I show up at the jury room (after soliciting directions from apathetic guards who can’t believe anybody in the entire population is unfamiliar with this process — don’t you watch teevee and worship cops and lawyers?) the party has started, and I’m so agitated I can’t unclench my teeth or fists. The hag behind the glass keeps asking me for something, but I can’t hear her with all the background noise from the podium and shuffling asses in seats. I jam my ear up to the tiny little metal-grilled hole to hear what she’s saying, which apparently frightens her. Maybe there’s a monster in my auditory canal pulling faces?
“Would you like to be excused this morning?” she finally hollers.
Wow. That was lot of work. I go to breakfast.
This time a uniformed toad-like guard is out in the street with a sign directing drivers to the proper lot. I quickly find a parking spot, make a note where it is (yes, I’m one of those pathetic souls who loses his car in parking garages, although it’s a lot easier now that I can actually see again), climb down the steps to the street, and spend 10 minutes looking for the front door of the courthouse. Again, no signs — and worse, no doors except for one that says Authorized Personnel Only No Entrance. I go all the way around until I find the front door, which is on a side street. Government.
Amazingly, I get through security without incident. A cop tells me to follow the black line on the floor to the elevator, press 3, and follow the same line to the jury room. Look what they’ve learned in 10 years.
A hatchet-faced court official greets everybody, takes our paperwork, and provides directions to the machine which stamps our parking receipt. Now I’m free to find a seat somewhere in this big room where it’s cold enough to hang dead meat, if not live convicts. I go to the back where the weak morning sun affords a bit more warmth. I’m in a heavy long-sleeved shirt and jacket, and I’m still cold. So of course, in 5 minutes I need to pis. And again, 15 minutes later. I see a pattern developing here.
Hatchet face starts talking. “All rise!” she bellows. I don’t. Then she instructs us to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I refuse. Then she makes us raise our right hands and swear or affirm something — I forget what. I don’t do that either. Nobody cares. We’re invited to sit down, just about the time I need the bathroom again. When I get back, I just stand at the back of the room.
Hatchet Face asks a series of questions to which we’re supposed to call out answers en masse. Is everybody here a citizen of Broward County? Does anybody have a legal case pending in this court? Is anybody here a convicted felon whose civil rights have not been restored? Amazing. So if the answer to that last one is Yes, the individual is supposed to stand up and reveal this fact to a room full of complete strangers? This is nobody’s fucking business, but the system itself treats people’s legal rights like they’re toilet paper.
Some shrimpy judge is up there talking about himself. He tells us how wonderful jury duty is, how terrific the court personnel are, and how thrilled he is that we’re all here today. Hey Yerhonor: we’re here because we were fucking summoned and don’t want to get arrested next time we’re pulled over for running a light od driving while Black. Save the yap. But he can’t help himself — we’re stuck, and he loves the sound of his own voice. When he finally shuts up, Hatchet Face bawls “All rise” again so this living Jim Morin character in a black polyester sheet can slowly shuffle away, staggering drunk with power.
What is it with these people? What delight do they derive in making us miserable? Why do they talk to us like we’re children? What’s with all the fetid bullshit they hurl? Why do they need to repeat themselves and issue orders like special ed teachers? Most of us arrived by car, not in a short yellow bus.
Now it’s time for a 15 minute video about jury duty, narrated by yet another egomaniac, the Clerk of Courts. This video actually features plain ordinary shitheads like us telling the camera that they never expected to enjoy their day of service as a juror, but they did! Dolts. They probably go to church, too, or Renaissance festivals. Voluntarily.
Among the items covered in this staggeringly dull video: appropriate attire for jury duty. Here we are, summoned, seated, and presumably already dressed — what is the point of telling us NOW? Nobody thinks this through, they just need to cram as much of themselves into your face as they can.
I head for the head again. My hands are so cold my dick shrinks away in terror. “Goddammit!” I mutter, fishing around in my pants. This alarms the skilled government worker studiously mopping the floor as he daydreams about his taxpayer-funded pension kicking in at age 60, when he can retire and start double-dipping like the cops and judges. But he says: Nothing.
The video ends, but Hatchet Face is in no hurry to get back — she’s doing something — anything, nothing — far more important the attending to the captive audience of 300 citizens under her command. Makes her wet just thinking about it. She does that slow, deliberate stroll back to the podium to emphasize her importance.
Anyway, there are more jurors than needed, so they pull names out of a hat and those who are called may opt to leave. Praise the Load, I’m called. I fucking leave. After one last trip to drain the dragon, I’m out by 9:00.
I’d make a very bad juror. Ya think? This time, the system worked.