Jurors Wanted: Deaf or Barely Alive
Okay. Today my son brought me a letter saying I was being called for jury duty. I should have gotten it a month ago, but they sent it to our old address. I glanced through it and called the number and told them that I am seventy-nine, can’t hear very well, and can’t remember anything for over two minutes, if that long. They said they would give me a hearing device and a pad and pencil. If I had medical issues, I’d need an excuse from my doctor.
I decided that I would think a while about which medical issue I might use: Trips to the ER for sudden excruciating pain from needing a knee replacement, suddenly not being able to stand up because of pain from a herniated disc with a bone spur, an over active bladder and a spastic colon causing panic attacks when further than five feet away from a bathroom, dizziness and nausea if I turn or bend too quickly, a tendency to suddenly fall asleep mid-afternoon no matter what I’m doing, a need to stand and stomp my right foot repeatedly when it gets horrible cramps. Or perhaps the most effective excuse would be frequent attacks of gastritis.
I thought I didn’t have to report until next Monday. Friday about lunch time, something prompted me to reread the letter and I discovered I had misread it. I had to report before 4 pm today or be fined $500. Well, my doctor leaves at noon on Friday and my penmanship isn’t quite bad enough to pass off as a Doctor’s.
I had been house cleaning in my pj’s, so I had to get dressed. On the way to the Courthouse Annex in Charlotte, I cheered myself up with the possibility that I might avoid the whole house cleaning issue for weeks, if I got put on a jury. After swearing to various things at the courthouse, I was sent home with an information booklet on how to be a good juror. However, the mental picture of a jury of peers, now that they don’t excuse anyone before their expiration date, had me laughing all the way home.
Picture every few minutes one of the jurors turning to the next and asking in a loud voice, “What, what did he say?” And another one stage whispering, “What is he on trial for? I can’t remember.” And then one squinting and shouting, “Is that there the criminal in the red tie?” Then every thirty minutes there would be a whole line of jurors taking Tim Conway baby steps all the way to the bathroom. Testimonies would be punctuated by phone alarms signaling times for medicines. Off and on someone would start snoring during a long testimony, waking with snorts and mutters when another juror jumped up and started stamping a cramping foot. Of course with this age group, there would always be a good chance that someone would grab their chest and fall over.
And, at a certain length of time after eating lunch, a mass attack of gastritis might actually clear the court.