GateHouse — So I’ve got jury duty tomorrow (stupid inconvenient Constitution). More effective way to get out of it: Darth Maul costume, or answering every question by quoting Scientology text while crying?
Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Jeff,” you’re thinking, because you talk to your computer screen or newspaper and tragically lack the comforting touch of human contact, “Why don’t you do what everyone else does: wad up your summons and churk it straight into the trash, and when the policemen come to your door at 6:30 a.m. some quiet Tuesday in October, promptly claim you were on a three-month-long whaling-boat disrupting pilgrimage to the waters near Antarctica and of course wouldn’t have received your summons, which would have been lost on a table covered in blubber?”
Well, yes, that’s a spiffy idea — especially your well thought-out whaling-boat tale (nice work!). There are other good ideas too, such as meowing a lot, or arriving in a ball gown, or aggressively espousing deeply held prejudices against ethnic groups that don’t exist, such as Flttthbptedonians, or the Irish. But the problem is: I’ve done that already. Bunches of times.
Tomorrow will be my second jury duty in just over three years. But I don’t have a lot of memory of the first stint, except that it was the MOST BLINDINGLY BORING DAY OF MY LIFE, and that counts every fantasy football draft I’ve been involved with and the day I went to Kelly Clarkson concert. (It was for work, people.)
It basically went like this: I arrived in a squat windowless brown building, was sent to a room and sat in that room for 18 consecutive hours counting ceiling tiles and dreaming up ways to kill myself with my shoelaces. Then we were shipped to a second room, where we were kept for three weeks, surviving on thin rations of occasional bowls of a nourishing gruel and sips of Mountain Dew. After that, a third room, containing paneling. Finally, we were marched into basically the setting for everything John Grisham has ever said in his life, complete with a mountainous, pink-skinned judge who referred to us all as “jur-ORs” was kind of funny and made a lot of jokes about fishing that I didn’t remotely understand. He was very stern but charming, in that Old Man Southern sort of way. I kind of kept waiting for Atticus Finch to walk in. And then at some point we were asked to stand, and he told us all to go either home or fishing, and there was knowing laughter, which I didn’t hear because I was sprinting out the door before somebody changed his mind.
Now, I believed that day officially constituted fulfillment of my civic duty for something like the next 600 years, so needless to say when the second summons arrived, I greeted it with an over-inflated sense of purported injustice I haven’t deployed since the BMG Music Service attempted to get me to pay for that Soul Asylum CD I didn’t order. (“Dear BMG, If you think I am going to pay you more than a penny for anything ever, let alone the Soul Asylum disc that came out after the Soul Asylum disc that everybody liked, you are on a runaway train to Unbalanced Ledgerville, and incidentally what in my profile would make you think I qualify for the Soul Asylum Featured Selection, because I’m clearly more of a Verve Pipe guy now.”)
Hey wait a minute, I kind of still like this song.
Do you know how something like this comes up, and you put it off, and they say, OK we’ll call you in six months, and you think, well, that shouldn’t be a problem because you can’t conceive of six months because it’s six months away and then six months go by and the new court date is immeasurably less convenient than the first one, so you put it off again, and this cycle repeats like four or five times? I have basically put off jury duty long enough that the guy on the phone the last time (six months ago), basically talked to me like the assistant principal on the horrible afternoon that Aaron Bradshaw was caught sending fictitious carnations to girls in our high school and blamed me: “Jeff, I’m surprised at you. I thought you cared more about your country than this.” (Principal Onda didn’t have quite that sense of civic responsibility, more of a barely concealed disgust that we were acting like children, but you get the idea.)
So I’m pretty sure I’m out of excuses for avoiding driving an hour up the road to potentially ladle out steaming bowls of Hot Fresh Justice Bisque. So I’ll go tomorrow, but so help me, that’s it, because if I get called a third time, there can be no reasonable explanation except a conspiracy by the Flttthbptedonians.
(Epilogue: I was dismissed early, and, in related news, have for sale a gorgeous new never-worn ball gown, size men’s L.)