It has been…a week, to say the least.
1. It being Halloween, my daughter and her friends decided to be Scooby Doo characters and they wanted to turn my beloved golf cart into “The Mystery Machine.” I love my daughter more than life itself, so I pulled all the materials together, my wife organized a painting party, and I did the rest. They had a heckuva time. That’s mine on the right:
2. Our 84-lb Doberman tore her Cruciate (that’s an ACL in humans) while also destroying her meniscus. The result was an appallingly expensive surgery, now followed by 6 weeks of intensive eyes-on, full-time cones of shame, and hot and cold compresses followed by leg massages.
3. I built a fire Saturday night (my 4th this season) and the chimney caught on fire (inside the pipe). I was able to put it out with the fire extinguisher, but not before three (count em “3”) fire districts showed up, along with two Bam-buh-lances. I’m grateful, but it felt like overkill considering I told 911 I already had put it out. But now, I have to get everything inspected and cleaned. The interesting thing is that, while I haven’t had it actually “cleaned” in years, annually I burn one or two anti-creosote logs, and had just done one the night before. New brand. Coincidence?
4. And lastly (so far), approximately one month ago, I received a Jury Summons; something that happens about every 4 or 5 years in my county. The issue is that I live in the very tip-top end of the dominant county in Atlanta. Which means that satisfying a jury summons in my county is quite the ordeal. See, look:
Note that these drives are indicative of when I would have to drive down to arrive by 8am:
I drove downtown yesterday, arriving around 7:30 at the parking lot. Caught the bus over to the courthouse, and then stood outside in the cold for 15 minutes waiting for security to open up. Another 30 minutes later and I was inside. Per the desk clerk, “We have an unprecedented number of judges wanting jurors.” Of the 8 “groups” of potential jurors selected to “potentially report for duty” (usually only about 4-6 of the 8 have to actually show up) all 8 had to report. It was packed!
That also meant that any hopes of a quick, “We don’t need you; you are free to go” was dashed. An hour later, me and 39 other potential jurors were assigned a courtroom and down we went.
Once ushered into the court room, the judge proceeded to tell us the facts as she could:
- This trial is expected to last 9 days (9 DAYS!)
- It was a medical device failure lawsuit, resulting in the death of a teen
- I understand everyone has issues with being away from home daily for 9 days, but we will only accept hardship requests under the following circumstances (disabilities, over 75, etc.)
- If selected, expect to start court daily between 7:30 and 8 am and finish at 6pm.
We spent the entire morning first hearing the plaintiff’s and defense’s attorneys give a “lite” version of the case and then being questioned en-masse, raising our little paddles whenever we agree with something the lawyers on each side asked. Then, the remainder of the day was spent on individual questions. I was panelist #40, so I was dead-last.
It was a nail-biter of a day, and if you ask me, the opening attorney for the plaintiff (from the “Johnny Cochran” law firm) did a horrible job of biasing potential jurors with his opening remarks, and a very smart young lady to my left in the jury pool–whose dad was a lawyer as were several others in her family–called him out on it. When it was my turn to respond to questions, I was only too happy to join her chorus when asked, “Do you believe that starting out, the plaintiff and defense are on equal footing?”
My answer: “I do not. Based on the facts laid out by the plaintiff’s attorney, I already have some idea of how I might view the case even before it starts. I also believe it takes an extraordinary person to be able to completely set aside their personal beliefs and bias and judge something solely on its newly-presented merit. If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that most of us are not extraordinary in that regard.”
Neither I, nor that young lady, were selected! What a week indeed…