Law and Disorder
I'll get back to Christmas and my birthday, I swear, but yesterday I had to serve in jury duty.

To give you an idea of the relative excitement of my life, I was actually kind of intrigued by jury duty. I've never actually been in a courtroon despite having a cousin in federal prison, having successfully sued a pediatrician for malpractice, and my father's failure to successfully sue my mother (3 times). I am also a big fan of Law and Order and CSI because I like to think there is some form of justice still operating in the universe even if it is strictly fictional and enforced by the likes of former stand up comedian Richard Belzer.

While I'm sitting there waiting, a guy-Kevin-walks past me without seeing me. I dated him for about one subway stop three years ago.

I have officially dated too many men in NY and I need to

The first thing they do is show you a video on being a jurist-one of those "This is to make you feel better about making 40 dollars a day for two days" type of things.

The video closes with the rousing claim, "This is your chance to be the conscience of your community."

I shouldn't be the conscience of a nuclear mutant cannibal community.

And then you sit and wait to be called. I decide to try and read Canterbury Tales. Confession: I've never read it. And after about 3 lines I decide I never will. A woman begin calling possible jurists from the lottery. She cautions us, "If you are a particularly sensitive juror, it is nothing about you if you are not selected. It is most likely some other factor. Do not take it personally."

You know I've always thought I was sensitive, but it seems I have a ways to go.

Three hours later I am called as a possible jurist in a trip and fall case against NYC. Hardly what I would hope for...

Outside of the jury selection room there shouldn't be a statue of Justice, but the Oracle of Delphi holding a tablet inscribed with the Apollonian edict "Know Thyself."

30 of us are herded into a room to be asked a series of question by three different lawyers. The questions are yes and no questions, "Do you think that if a person falls it is entirely his own fault and there is no other possible mitigating factor at all?" Possible jurist raise their hands, "Well I mean it depends on the situation. It could be but it could be..." and they don't seem to get that they are answering whether or not they have a biad and if they make the jury they will be told the details and asked to judge this SPECIFIC case. Then based on our questionaires some of us are asked specific questions. "I see here Mr Kellerman that you were involved in a lawsuit. Would that interfere with your ability to judge this case?"

It's a yes or no answer.

"Well, I'd like to think that I wouldn't be biased, but I think there might be some bias. I mean, I would try to be impartial, but I worry that I might be more inclined towards the defendant. But I don't really know."

Uh, Mr Kellerman if you don't know if you're biased, who would?

And I'd like to think that I look every bit as good as Scarlett Johannsen, but I know that it isn't the case. This isn't about how we would like to conceive of ourselves, it's about who we really are. And it seems that almost no one in New York has the vaguest notion about that.

Because of my questionaire-the lawsuits, the cousin in federal prison-I am singled out for a "private" conversation with all three attorneys. So as not to embarass me.

"So, uh Miss Speigelman, can you tell us a bit about the lawsuits?" I answer quickly and accurately. "And do you think that would bias you in this case?" "No." "And how long have you lived in NYC?""12 years." "And do you have any negative ideas about the city? Do you have any, uh, resentment or anger towards the city?"

I've been living here 12 years. Do I have any resentment? After 12 years of moving here because I thought this was a place where I would be more accepted than my hometown and I've been harassed on the street by the Ready Willing and Able guys about how tall I am on my way to work. 12 years of dating so many men that I can't go to jury duty without running into one of these men I wasn't good enough for. 12 years of dealing with the MTA, traffic, and insane cabbies. 6 years of paying Manhattan rent. Two years ago the MTA strike was on my birthday. I was giving an exam during the great blackout. My second day teaching was Sept 11th. DO I HAVE ANY NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT NYC?

"I don't think I have any more negative thought about the city than say the regular annoyance."

"In the likelihood that you are chosen for this jury, could be completely unbiased?"

What she doesn't ask is "If in the likelihood you are chosen for this jury, will you leap up from the jury's box with Jew Li like fluidity and begin butchering people in the courtroom without any reason-twisting off the head of opposing counsel, jabing your fingers into the eyes of a fellow jurist, the judge's guts sliding off your fingers as you attempt to bite the throat of a particularly virile court officer?"

The Doberman tells me, "You should have just told them you are the littlest ball of hate they are likely to meet."

Which is also true.

"I think I could be unbiased."

Of course, I am dismissed. The moron in front of me was actually disappointed he wasn't called. "I really wanted to know how these cases work," he remarked to the man next to him.

And suddenly I have an idea why Nero burned Rome to the ground all the while playing a lyre.

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