Tick, Tick, Tick
The dreaded Jury Summons arrived in the mail. Sunday night I had to call the 24 Hour Information Line to see what I was in store for the next five days, starting Monday morning. The voice on the other end of the line told me I was on stand-by and to call in Monday at 11:30 a.m. Since I couldn’t risk gambling that I may or may not have to report at 9 a.m. Monday and since I didn’t want to put another person on standby to cover my shift, if needed, I had already arranged coverage at work. So, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, there I was, no work, no pay on Monday, stuck in limbo.
That’s the problem with stand-by. I can’t get started on any big projects sinceI may have to drop everything and have about an hour to get my behind downtown to report for jury duty, should the voice on the phone tell me to go. But there’s always too much to do so I can’t just kick back and figure I’m on vacation and grab a good book and go outside and sit on my yellow Adirondack chair in Kifani’s Corner, put my feet up and read. That would be slothful, somehow. So what I end up doing is piddling and frittering.
You know Piddle and Frittering; prune those overgrown bushes and haul the trimmings out to the recycle bin, get a cup of coffee, read a few sections of the Times, sweep the bedroom floor, drink a glass a water, go walk the dogs around the block, dust the furniture, eye the clock, stand in the middle of the room and look around, look at the clock again, 11:30, make the call. I’m on stand-by, again. Now what?
Then there’s the problem of previously made appointments, like the 6-months it takes to get an appointment to have my teeth cleaned. Do I cancel and risk that I’ll be told that I’m still on stand-by, thereby having to wait another 6 months for another appointment? Don’t call until it’s too late for the office to plug in another person?
Tick, tick, tick. Every day, a roll of the dice. Waiting for shoes to drop. Neither here nor there. Limbo Monday, limbo Tuesday, Limbo until 11:30 Wednesday, and then the blessed voice: Your service is over for another year. Dismissed early. Recess! Yaaayyy!
What makes this all so doubly frustrating – yes, yes, I know, civic duty, citizens’ responsibility, an honor to serve, yadda-yadda-yadda – is this: No DA or defense attorney will ever want me on any jury EVER. On the times I got dragooned and ended up downtown going through panel reviews, I could see them with their “lists,” checking off names, muttering. And during voir dire, it’s always the same. Speak my name and somebody politely remarks that they’re “familiar” with that name, heard me on the radio or read my column or blog or, perhaps, a snarky letter to the editor? ah, yes. . . her. . . . No way we want her on this panel, you’re excused, please return to the jury room, thank you.
So it’s always a complete waste of time. And the one time it looked like I might get chosen to serve on a panel, the judge just had to ’splain a set of overriding legal issues that perked my ears up and required – being under oath to speak truth – that I utter the dreaded words – jury nullification – and ker-BLAM! Thank you, you’re excused, please return to the jury room and don’t let the door hit you on the behind as you exit.
Not to mention the fact that I will no longer consider convicting anyone of simple drug possession or use since I believe our drug policies are absolutely insane and in desperate need of vast reform, which ain’t gonna happen since politicians can too easily demagogue the issue, the general public loves to be demagogued on the issue, plus there’s simply too much money to be made by all parties of the Drug War – cops, judges, prison system, Drug Lords, weapons manufacturers – it’s the perfect Military/Industrial/Judicial/Prison Industry/Drug Complex . So all I can do with that issue is a simple Right of Conscience – non serviam. (On the other hand, I have no trouble convicting someone for other crimes that may have been caused by and/or being under the influence, i.e. Walking While Stupid.)
So, all in all, putting me on jury duty call is a complete waste of everyone’s time. Tick, tick, tick.
“Why Did No One Rein In Wilcox Debacle?”
Asks this morning’s Tribune. Ah, good question. Far too late to ask and answer, in the case of Edge. He skated out the door with full benefits BEFORE the Robertson report revealed that he was “covering up” for Wilcox’s affair. O Lucky Man! Wilcox was fired for “cause.” Edge wasn’t. In his dismissal, the BOS blathered on about a change in philosophy, yadda-yadda. What they should have done is either censure him for his failure to blow the whistle on Wilcox when it became clear to him that she had an affair with Perry or fire him “for cause,” sans nice benefits package, just like they did with Wilcox.
What remains now is to figure out why officials in positions of responsibility for dealing with, uh, employees’ behavior/ethical conflict issues, turned a blind eye. And whether the county has some sort of early warning system to determine if alcohol is becoming a problem for employees, since so much of the Robertson report seems to involve Wilcox and “drinking.” Was that a culprit in some of Wilcox’s more troubling behaviors? According to the Tribune story, people responsible are now busy covering their behinds and pointing fingers, including pointing to the previous Supervisors. And round and round we go.
On August 3, Jay Salter had a letter to the editor in which he compared the “Wilcox Tragedy” to Greek drama. “The trio’s performance may be judged as either satiric farce of a public display of human suffering of near Aristotelian proportions. But since I have a workplace acquaintance with each of the players, I see the entire affair as painful tragedy. These are star-crossed beings, each suffused with colossal hubris and each exhibiting achingly “fatal” flaws.
“They are us, writ large, and deserve far more compassion than derision.”
My reply to Mr. Salters apt observation is as follows:
“ . . .[while] the Wilcox/Edge/Perry triangle was nearly Greek in its dramatic proportions. Since nobody died, it can’t be classified as a classic “tragedy,” no matter how painful it has been, so “satiric farce” or classic “comedy” would be closer to the mark.
In reality, I suspect what ultimately happened here was even more simple than Greek drama: Edge and Wilcox were exceptional people who made the mistake of thinking they were The Exception. That delusion always leads to disaster, as this unexceptional case so sadly illustrates.”
And, as usual, the taxpayers are gonna eat this one.