The Rural Juror*

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on the entire farce that is the Cook County justice system. That’s right, I said it.

A few weeks ago, I received a summons for jury duty. Or rather, jury service, as it is now called. I was thrilled! After a failed attempt at being selected to serve on a jury a few years ago (Out of court settlement. Bullshit.), I would finally get a second chance at becoming the foreperson I was born to be.

Last Friday was the official day. Just like last time, I was chosen to serve at one of the suburban courthouses. And just like last time, I could tell within an instant that I was the most qualified person to lead the jury to a fair and balanced decision. That sounds like bragging, but trust me, it’s not. Not much, in any case. There were very few jurors in the pool due to a light day of trials, and my closest competition consisted of:

1. Woman who fell asleep 20 minutes after arrival, and remained face down on the table for the next three hours.
2. Creepy skinny man who was staring at me every time I looked up from my laptop, and then would quickly look away and giggle into his hand.
3. Elderly man who spent most of the day picking at something on his ankle.
4. Young woman playing first-person shooter game on her laptop.
5. Woman who sucked her teeth and shook her head during the entire episode of The View.

Seriously. They NEEDED me on that jury! Would you want that motley crew deciding your fate? I should think not. But unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be. Around noon, the jury babysitter got on the microphone and said, “And now the news you’ve all been waiting for… you can go home! The only trial of the day just settled, so your jury service is now complete. Please come to the desk to collect your paycheck.”

But didn’t she get it? That wasn’t the news I had been waiting to hear. The news I had been waiting for was, “Based solely on our silent observations over the past three hours, we have decided to make Jenny the foreperson for this trial, one which will be fascinating and full of complex twists and turns and tearful accusations and inadmissible confessions, yet will only require you to miss two days of work.”

So you know what? The next time I get called to perform my civic duty, I’m going to let someone else take the reins and be a leader. Why should I put my heart and soul on the line again, only to be crushed? Maybe I’ll just pick at my ankle or play Call of Duty IX: Entrails of Tears or tsk-tsk during Oprah. Let that courthouse just wonder what it missed out on. You can only hurt me so many times, Cook County. I’m on to your game.

*That title will only make sense to the most devoted 30 Rock fans.

10 Responses to “The Rural Juror*”

  1. Don Says:

    Well, I’m telling you, if they’re ever on to me as I’m passing through O’Hare and I find myself in the dock with that guy and his lawyer staring at me, I will make a personal request for Jenny Runjenrun to be the foreperson, and I will accept no substitutes!

  2. Dave2 Says:

    On the other hand… you didn’t convict a serial murderer who will subsequently escape from prison and hunt down all the members of the jury who sentenced him to life in jail… STARTING WITH THE JURY LEADER! See? You were lucky and you didn’t even know it!

    You’re welcome!

  3. Sarah Says:

    I was called for Jury Duty once. I got up to the seats and everything. Then the guy stood up and said “I’ll take that offer.” And I went home.

    Clearly I live an exciting life.

    At least it excused me from a test.

  4. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    I think that sitting in a jury room surrounded by the cream of our societal crop is really all they need to do to curb crime in today’s youth. Just sit them down and have them people watch for a couple hours, then whisper in their ear, ‘They’ll be deciding your fate’, and watch as the tears start to silently trickle down their face.

    It’ll change lives, I tell you.

  5. Patricia Says:

    Being able to serve on a jury is one of the things I’m most looking forward to in (finally) becoming a U.S. citizen. Of course, there’s no guarantee that it will ever happen and that’s just rude. Probably why I’ve been so lazy about going through the naturaliztion process.

    hee. the rural juror. love it!

  6. claire Says:

    dude, I recognized Jenna’s film’s name as soon as I saw it. No 30 Rock tip off required. And it made me laugh again which I could use today.

    On the flip side, however, I recently postponed another jury duty summons till as late as possible next year. I’m hoping this one gets canceled before I have to go anywhere too. You do make it sound glamorous though, your One Angry Veronica* moment in the sun. ;)

    *an even more obscure tv reference for ya.

  7. vahid Says:

    Clearly the justice system in Cook County is both inadequate and incompetent. If ever there were a reason for you to take up a double-life as a costumed crime-fighter, this is it.

  8. Cheryl Says:

    The one time I was selected for a jury (I think having both a cop and a prisoner in my extended family helped me seem evenhanded), they settled out of court at the last minute. I missed my chance to convict or acquit a dude named Bruce Bible, who was accused of running a crack house. And I missed the two-hour lunches they kept giving us while the lawyers hashed things out.

  9. shari Says:

    Gawd, I get summoned every damn year, and I NEVER get selected because, oh I don’t know… maybe because I’m a lawyer, who’s married to another lawyer, and I know virtually all the lawyers and, and, and… so WHY THE HELL DO THEY KEEP MY NAME IN THE JURY POOL?!?!?!?!

    *ahem* Sorry. What I meant to say is, next time I get summoned, you wanna come out and pretend to be me? I’ll pull strings and get you named foreperson.

  10. Dave2 Says:

    I pretend to be Shari all the time. I highly recommend it.

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