The Cheese Fry recently waded into the deep end of the criminal justice system shark tank, spending a day and a half suffering through the tedium that is jury duty. We weren't picked - the defense attorney excused us for what were surely some fiendishly devious reasons - but we certainly saw our fill of interesting people:
* The retiree sitting the jury selection room at 8am who had nothing to read. He simply sat there and stared into space like a mental patient. What's he going to do all day? How is he going to pass the time?
* The frazzled single mother dragging along her three kids to the jury room. She got a postponement apparently. Extra credit that her middle son, who looked to be about 14, was wearing a top hat.
* The woman who admitted that her brother was sentenced to three years in prison and, when asked if the system treated him fairly, agreed that it did. Some brother he must be.
* The deputy sheriff with the ridiculously huge beer gut. Who's he going to stop? If he can reach you, okay, you're probably going down. But if there's any kind of footrace, we advise betting against him.
* The haggard, humorless, unflappable jury manager who ran through her orientation speech for what was surely the 9000th time. She has seen it all and is not amused by your foolishness. She even admitted that she's not seeing us. She's just running through the script in her head.
* The disheveled guy who came to the jury assembly lugging a half-empty gallon jug of orange juice, from which he repeatedly swigged. What's his story? He battling scurvy or was there a sale at the corner market?
* The scruffy dude wandering past with the big spiderwebs tattooed on his elbows. Why?
* The little old Asian lady and the middle-aged Mexican fellow who pretended to not speak English as a way to get out of jury service. We are skeptical, albeit impressed at their ability to stick to their me-no-speaka character.
* The shlubby and shabby defense attorney who seemed unable to pull that necktie tight to his collar or keep his shirt smooth and pressed. Contrasted to the button-down defense attorney who looked like she just stepped out of the pages of Cosmopolitan Counselor.
* The two middle-aged women who somehow found each other and proceeded to develop an annoying suburban comedy act of giggly commentary on anything and everything. No one else found it as amusing as them, including even the elderly man with the hand palsy who somehow got recruited to serve as their McMahon-style sidekick. He deserved better.
* The two slightly trashy twentysomething women visiting the courthouse in what could only be described as micro-shorts. So much for the dignity of the court.
* The very elderly woman with painfully skinny arms and legs trying in vain to look young by tying a scarf around her neck.
* The jackass oaf who slouched and mumbled to the judge that he simply could not believe the testimony of law enforcement because of his own multiple bad encounters with police, which of course involved an assertion of his 3rd and 4th amendment Constitutional rights. He needed video evidence to convict, of course. One of those. The dialogue between him and judge over the definition of the term "hearsay" was comedy gold. You can't make this stuff up. What a maroon. He was excused.
* The bald deputy sheriff standing around the hallway with sunglasses perched on his forehead like it was a banker's visor. If that's not bad enough, he then carefully adjusted it several times so it would sit properly. Did we mention he was inside?
* The angry, loudmouthed retiree dressed like a bag lady who apparently missed all of the jury orientation and so simply showed up late, walked to the jury manager, waved her paperwork, and shouted "What do I do with this?"
* The soft-spoken woman who explained it's God's place to judge, not hers.
* The Israeli woman utterly incapable of entertaining the idea that people charged with a crime are not automatically guilty. She couldn't even imagine a hypothetical situation in which she or her kids were wrongly accused. In her country, you see, it's only the wise judges who render verdicts, not "the common man." She was excused, obviously.
* The android-like court reporter who seemed to attain some kind of weird Zen state where she simply stared into space as her fingers moved.