To Jury Duty. Shit I hate jury duty. I hate everything about it. This “jury of your peers” nonsense is whipped cream on bullshit. How am I the peer of a wire fraud artist, ghetto thug, abusive spouse, or crooked cop? The system is a joke, and unfortunates take the hits.
And I despise reporting to a sealed-off building brimming with sanctimonious political lawyers in absurdly expensive suits designed for cold climates, obese cops stinking of chicken fat stuffed into button-bursting uniforms, and dull-witted bureaucrats plodding through the motions of working for a living as they crawl ever-closer to their grossly inflated pensions that you and I underwrite.
I’ve been through this before, of course. My greatest success was acting so demented and upset — it wasn’t entirely an act — that the cretin in the glass cage asked me at check-in if I’d like to excused. Evidently the drool trail I left on her window convinced her I might not be a good selection. I was out of there and into breakfast before 8:30 am.
There’s a lot of wasted time, and even more wasted words. About 300 of us slouching citizens in a large auditorium chilled for hanging meat, forced to listen to a droning factotum whose words of encouragement are as uplifting and assuring as the $3/hour pastor in a cheap suit and collar who counsels axe-murderers and father rapers on their slog to the gas chamber.
We watch a video. A fucking video! The video features the clerk of the court, a bearded bloat who never held a job the political system didn’t provide (appropriately, he wears shit-brown), who tells us what great patriots we are by showing up on time and not disobeying a summons and risking fines and arrests. Interspersed are “genuine testimonials” from ordinary citizens telling us how much they actually enjoyed the experience. Imagine their jobs. Picture their lives.
The video also tells us about parking arrangements, what is and isn’t appropriate attire, and how we may bring food from home to heat in the courthouse microwave. Very useful to know for people who are already sitting there, yes?
During the break, I wander over to the cafeteria and buy One Apple. $1.60. Munching slowly, I whip out my phone and scan the interwebs. I notice there are WIFI users in the room with the handle JURYDUTY SUCKS, SOFUCKINGBORING, BITEME, and HANGTHEBASTARDS.
The group to which I am assigned shuffles to a courtroom where some ancient justice, coughing furiously, presides from a raised dais. Even from the back of the room I see this human husk has enough dandruff on his black robes to bread a veal cutlet. In a nasal monotone, he explains the nature of the case, our role should we be selected, and the procedure known as voir dire (which he mispronounces) where the slimy attorneys of record may eliminate a certain number of jurors for whatever reason. It is my intention, of course, to eliminated quickly.
Judge Sarcophagus asks us jury candidates if we have personal knowledge of any of the parties to the case or their learned counsel. It turns out, I do. I recognize defense counsel, a somewhat high-profile puke who is politically active, and a guy who thoroughly screwed over a friend of mine over a period of 2 years while she battled for a divorce from her estranged cheating husband (who happened to be a cop). So I raise my hand and stand.
Gasping, the old fuck fixes a thick-eyebrowed look in my direction. “Would your familiarity with counsel affect your ability to remain impartial regarding judgment of the evidence presented in the case, or the disposition of his client?” he intones.
“Quite possibly, Your Honor.” Christ it hurts to address this puke with respect. “From what I understand, every word that comes out of his mouth is a lie, including ‘the’ and ‘and’.”
It’s not an original line, but it sure as hell takes the air out of the room. With me, right behind it. Learned counsel requests I be excused.
And obediently report back to the freezing jury assembly room, where I am advised that my service will not be needed further. No reassignment for THIS wise-ass. You can kiss THIS boy good-bye!
I’m home by noon, my patriotic duty complete for another year.