Scatterbrainia: Will it Get Me Out of Jury Duty?
I got the letter in the middle of December. THE MIDDLE OF DECEMBER! What government bureaucrat thought it would be a good idea to send an important document . . . a document that summons United States citizens to significant participation in our country’s democratic process . . . to a woman who is low on sleep, high on stress and strung out on Christmas sugar?
I’ll bet the $1.62 that is left on my January credit card limit that it was a man . . . a man who didn’t have to duplicate his dead mother’s recipe for cornbread dressing, find a pair of canine antlers so his husband’s dog could pass for a reindeer or shop at Walmart on the Saturday before Christmas.
I skimmed the letter and put it aside. I had other, more important things to read.
My husband needed me to research the mechanical specifications for a Celestron AstroMaster 90AZ Refractor telescope with a altazimuth mounting. My son needed me to proof read his composition for graduate level study. My grandchildren needed to know what kind of holiday drama was on its way to Llama Llama.
The legal summons to report for jury duty in the Marshall County District Court of the Kentucky Judicial System would just have to wait.
In retrospect, I should have read the thing.
The second week of January, my summons and I reported . . . just a wee bit late . . . to district court.
When I walked into the courtroom, the clerk was already giving instructions to the on-time jurors.
I heard, “Let me say one more time, if any of you failed to mail in your juror questionnaire, please give it to me now.”
“Ohhhh . . .
Crap, crap, crap . . .
I looked at the summons and read, for the first time, the papers attached to it.
Yep. There it was in big, black letters. “Juror Questionnaire. Complete and return within five days of receipt.”
My mind whirled. How do I get this thing completed and delivered to the woman at the front of the courtroom without looking like an idiot? How do I get it done in the 45 seconds that are left before the judge enters? And, most importantly, how do I keep my husband, the attorney, from ever, ever, anytime ever, finding out about it?
I sat down on the back row of seats and furiously filled out the questionnaire that was supposed to have been mailed to the clerk a month earlier.
I signed my name, dotted one “i”, crossed two “t”s, smudged the date to make it illegible and . . .
Before the man in the robe walked in!!
I hid the completed form in my coat as I walked to the front of the courtroom. I surreptitiously handed it to the clerk and returned to my seat as the judge entered and began talking to the jury members.
My mind calmed down and I began to think again. I began to think about the form I had just filled out. I couldn’t remember many of the questions. I couldn’t remember any of my answers.
I was pretty sure I wrote my name correctly. Same for my address.
Did the form ask for my age? Did I give it to them or did I say, “None of your big, fat business”?
Which of my husband’s names did I put on the form? Did I call him Gregory, Greg, Kaybee (which is one of the cute little names I call him) or Stupid Jerkface (which is another name I sometimes call him)?
Am I a U.S. citizen? Did I check yes or no?
Do I have mental problems? Well, of course I do. I reared five kids. But did I admit that to a man with the power to declare me incompetent?
And . . .
Did I remember a question about vomiting up celery?
Comets named Melanie?
Committing a felony?!
Had I just told the Marshall County Court System that I committed a felony?!
What a mess!
It could be that I caused the problem by being inattentive and scatterbrained. But, personally, I blame the bureaucrat.
I had jury duty for the second time last week. I walked into the courtroom with more than a little trepidation. Had the clerk read my questionnaire? Was the man with the badge and the gun waiting for me? Had someone told my husband that he married an imbecile? Or that I think his name is Stupid Jerkface?
As it turned out, things went very well that day.
I was one of six people chosen to serve on the jury.
No one snickered when I walked to the jury box. The judge didn’t question my mental competency before administering the oath.
Someone was declared disabled that day but it wasn’t me.
The evidence would suggest that I escaped unscathed and have lived to do stupid stuff another day.
However . . . I did notice that the Assistant County Attorney, whom I have known for years, had a little twinkle in her eye when she looked at me that day. Either she was glad to see me again or she was thinking that she should change my husband’s name in her Rolodex to The Honorable S. J. Northcutt.