Because my wife retired after a career in advertising and because I studied it in journalism school, I have always paid attention to ads and commercials. One of the best was on the back of a magazine on the newsstand – Playboy, I believe (I used to read it just for the pictures) – that showed a bottle of Crown Royal whisky on the floor, broken, with the golden liquid running everywhere. The caption read: “Have you ever seen a grown man cry?”
That question could have applied to me recently after I returned from days of medical tests in Atlanta, with the promise of many more to come, and finding an envelope in our mail that stated on the front: Jury Summons.
“Nooooo!” I screamed.
My cry was not because I didn’t want to serve jury duty, but because I did.
Ever since my first and only jury experience many years ago, I have eagerly awaited the next time. After all, the odds are in my favor. I’m a citizen. A property owner. A veteran. In the words of a stern Southern judge whose cases I used to cover, I can “read, write and speak the English language,” and am not under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. I realize those aren’t the requirements to be chosen, but I figure they can’t hurt.
With so much medical uncertainty ahead of me, however, I don’t expect to have the time to hang out in a courtroom anytime soon – unless I am testifying against Auburn University for one of its many sins. (Your name means a reddish-brown color, and yet your uniforms are blue and orange? Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.)
I saw actress Kyra Sedgwick on a late show recently, talking about the many times she has been happy to serve as a juror. I don’t know why she has such good luck. Perhaps it is because she is only one degree removed from husband Kevin Bacon, so she probably has connections with everyone in the system who could name her the forewoman of every jury in town. My closest tie to Kevin is that I like bacon for breakfast.
Year ago, I was chosen as a juror in the trial of two young men charged with burglarizing a store. I went into the week full of trepidation. After all, we were 12 white Southern men and women. The defendants were black. As the week progressed, I was gratified to see that we ordinary citizens judged everything on the facts of the case with nothing but justice for the defendants and for the judicial system.
Atticus Finch would have approved and that trial remains one of the best experiences of my life.
After getting my recent summons, I reluctantly called the county and said I couldn’t serve, but still want to at some time. The clerk was pleasant and said she would put me down on the rolls for a year from now.
I plan to hold her to her promise.
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419