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Monday, November 28, 2016

Juror 21

Last week I had jury duty. I had to report to the courthouse Monday at 7:45 AM.

I allotted plenty of time to maneuver downtown Los Angeles to get to the right parking structure, park the car, buy coffee and a donut, and make it to the courthouse in time, and I did. The only problem was forty-five minutes into Jury orientation I realized I was at the wrong courthouse.

I don’t know what made me look at my summons, but I’m sure glad I did. I jumped up like my ass was on fire and yelled “wrong courthouse! wrong courthouse!”

Luckily, the two courthouses were only a few blocks apart, and I ran all the way to the criminal courthouse. Out of breath and dizzy from an adrenaline high, I made it to the new juror room. Phew!

No sooner did I get acclimated in the new room, the first set of jurors were called for a case, and that included me. We all headed to Courtroom 129.


Once inside the courtroom, I noticed the defendants sitting with their lawyers. I immediately imagined what crime they might have committed. I thought murder, rape, terrorism, shoplifting, jaywalking, pickpocketing, and urinating in public. I was wrong on all counts.

The defendants were being charged with eight criminal counts including abduction, torture, assault, robbery, and car stealing. Wow.

I was no longer Michael. My courthouse identity was now Juror 21.

The District Attorney and lawyers asked us all sorts of questions. When my turn came, I decided I would only tell the truth, my truth, and if the God-of-Jurors deemed it necessary for me to be on the jury then so be it.

I confess that I became completely fascinated by the process and wanted to be part of it. I fantasized being the Jury Foreman (of course).

I convinced myself I had “aced” the Q&A portion of jury selection and would be on the final jury. I mean, who wouldn’t want me on their jury, right?

After our lunch break, the Judge announced decisions were made. He faced us, the potential jurors… ooh the excitement… then he dismissed Juror 5… then he dismissed Juror 12… then he looked at me… we made juror to judge eye contact… I felt a special legal connection… and then he said Juror 21 was dismissed.

WTF?!?

I politely gathered my backpack and left Courtroom 129. While the other dismissed jurors did the “happy dance” in the hallway I thought, wait a damn minute, why didn’t they want me?

Did they think I wasn’t “jury quality” or “jury-able”?

How dare they judge me when all I wanted to do was judge them and decide a criminal’s fate.

My jury foreman fantasy was convicted without a trial.

Now they’ll never know if I would I have voted guilty or not guilty.

And I’ll never tell… untiI I get a book deal.

I’ll call my book Juror 21: The True Courtroom Story.


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Friday, November 11, 2016

Chewing Gum and the Urinal

I rarely chew gum, but when I do, I find that after the first burst of flavor the joy-of-chewing quickly disappears and all that’s left is a wad of rubbery substance to chomp on until its either swallowed or thrown in the trash.

People who noisily chew gum irritate me.  I find it unattractive, especially when their mouths are flapping in constant motion. But hey, if someone wants to chew that’s their right, they just need to follow good-gum-manners when they’re done chewing.


My most recent altercation with chewing gum involves a urinal. Yes, a urinal. And it wasn’t pleasant.

Picture this… me at the gym… in the locker room… in the bathroom… at the last urinal on the left… and there on the splash guard of the “non-flushing” urinal was a wad of chewed gum…

I could only imagine that someone had spit the gum into the urinal while peeing.

That wad of gum was staring up at me as I peed, taunting me, daring me to pee on it. I lost all concentration, and almost lost my aim too. I was pissed.

Because it’s a “non-flushing” urinal, the gum doesn’t go with the flow and flush away. It stays there… and stays there… and stays there… until someone… most likely a bathroom janitor takes it out.  

The next day I used a different urinal (the second one from the right) and in that one there was a huge wad of chewed gum. This one looked like pink bubble gum, and it had a set of distinct teeth marks on it.

Spitting chewed gum into urinals is not good-gum-chewing behavior.

Today when I used the gym urinal there was no gum… thank goodness… but then I went to the sink to wash my hands and there in the bottom of the sink was a wad of chewed gum.

Why, why, why, why, WHY?!?  

Whoever this person is, he needs to be caught and taught lessons in gum-chewing-manners.

I think DNA samples should be taken from the chewed gum, and then the person’s face posted all over the gym so everyone will know he’s got BAD GUM-CHEWING MANNERS.

If he can’t chew it and dispose of it properly, then he shouldn’t be allowed to chew it at all.