I am a nervous laugher. I always have been. If something makes me uncomfortable, I giggle… which often gives people the impression that I am NOT uncomfortable. Go figure. People tell me intimate details of their sex lives, I giggle. People ask me heated political questions, I giggle. I enter a church, I giggle. And, here’s a new one for me, I am selected for jury duty, I giggle.
I know, I know, it’s an honor to serve on a jury, it’s our democratic process at work, and blah blah blah. You may think that in my finding humor with jury duty, I am being disrespectful. Perhaps. But, remember, I am a nervous giggler. That’s my excuse.
I entered the courthouse at 8:15 a.m. There was a small line of people, putting their belongings onto a conveyor belt, much like at the airport. I watched the woman in front of me put her purse down, then offer to put her super puffy parka that was thrown over her arm on the belt. The guard told her not to worry about it, and she went on through. Then it was my turn. I put my stuff on the belt, smiled at the guard, and he told me to open the top to my coffee cup. I did as he requested, wondering what I may have been suspected of smuggling in my vanilla latte. Maybe a grenade? A shank whittled from my coffee stirrer? Wouldn’t it be easier to smuggle a weapon into a courtroom under a puffy giant parka, anyway? hmmm. I guess it’s my social deviant look that I have. Really not fair, I even brushed my hair that day.
We were led up to a waiting room, where we waited for about a half an hour to be called down to the court. Fortunately for me, I brought along my intellectually stimulating copy of Chelsea Handler’s book, Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. I sat there, reading my book with a big stupid grin on my face, while we waited for the judge to prepare. I actually read a chapter about a Peekapoo licking a man’s penis. It just seemed wrong, considering my environment. The state of mind that book was putting me in was not helping my giggle retention at all. Did I mention that I was nervous? New situations do that to me, and especially ones in which I feel I am supposed to behave a certain way, but wasn’t listening very well while the rules were being dished out. I have a insanely short attention span. I may have giggled. Everything started to seem funny. And of course, that was about the time we were called into the court room. EEEEK!
We sat down again, because they don’t seem to want anyone to fatigue their butt muscles in a court of law, and listened to the judge give us directions. Then I was called into the jury box with 11 other people. It was a good 10 paces away! My butt was pretty thrilled to experience some movement. The closest I had ever come to this court room scenario was acting in a pimply faced classroom version of 12 Angry Men in 7th grade. And watching Judge Judy when Fox was the only channel I had. This wasn’t the same. I focused on the smell of cigarettes pouring off the man next to me, instead of my nervous, sweaty armpits – thinking that his stench would surely overpower mine.
The judge read off the charges against the defendant, and while he was still talking I smiled and raised my hand. He looked at me like there was a purple nipple with horn on it growing from my forehead.
“Am I allowed to ask a question?” He stared. Apparently annoyed with the social deviant in the second row.
“Can you explain 3rd degree assault?” I knew what this meant, but thought that it could be beneficial to the other 11 people sitting up there with me.
“The trial has not yet begun, Miss.” oooooh. I was having some high school flashbacks.
“We will explain those charges after we decide on the final 12 jurors.”
Okayyy. Seemed more efficient my way.
Then the questions began. We each had to introduce ourselves to the court and give a bio. You know, name, occupation, age, number of UFO sightings, that sort of thing.
I was feeling silly again, after asking a question in the middle of the judge’s ranting – and now I was even more nervous to be speaking since he had obviously already decided I was at least partially mentally handicapped.
There was a question about if you had children, and if so, what were their occupations. My kid is a first grader.
“I have a six-year-old, and she’s a professional magician.”
In my defense, nothing remotely entertaining had happened yet. I thought we could use a little levity. A couple of hours later, I realized I had technically lied under oath. Egads! I mean, of course she’s a magician, but “professional” may be a stretch.
The judge was looking at me, quizzically, probably wondering to himself what kind of drugs I was on. Caffeine, nerves, and CRAP! I forgot to eat breakfast. Let’s add low blood sugar to that dangerous cocktail.
And then the last question came along. It was “What do you listen to on the radio? What television shows do you watch? What do you read?”
“I listen to music on the radio (just in case they may have thought I was a follower of small town Evangelical radio broadcasts). I only watch comedy (OH MY GOD! It’s like I am a pathological liar. I watch the news. I watch countless cartoons. I watch Glee, and I don’t even know what category that fits into!). And I am currently reading Chelsea Handler.”
The guy on my right had graduated from Harvard. I could tell he was impressed. The woman in front of me snickered. The judge said, “What? What book? Who’s that?”
At this point I am wondering, what the hell is wrong with me? Why is this stuff in my head actually coming out of my mouth? Where did I misplace my filter?
I pulled it together and said, “Oh, she’s just a stand up comedian.”
She’s like a 35-year-old, rather slutty Olsen twin. She’s got her hands in television, books, maybe even porn (I’m guessing).
She wrote this book here, in my hand, that is shaking a little because I am giggling a bit, in this oppressive, wood-paneled room, that is too cold, and gee my coffee is all gone, and I just read about a dog licking a man’s penis, and I really want to laugh because that is just so totally inappropriate while I sit here, possibly being selected to decide if this man is guilty of hitting a woman, while my butt is getting a little sweaty from all these questions.
I was not selected for the jury.
I was a little bummed, because I had already decided the guy was guilty (he had guilty eyebrows) and I thought that my supreme giggling powers would probably sway the decisions of my fellow jurors. Too bad. As I walked out of the courtroom, I realized that they had made the right choice in not selecting me, after all. I was terribly hungry and would have voted for the death penalty if it meant I could have grabbed some breakfast.
My bubble may appear to be a democracy, but in actuality, it is a dictatorship. I make the rules. If someone has a questionable arch to their eyebrow, it means they are guilty! If someone has a puffy coat, check them for a machine gun! If someone brings coffee, let them in. Ask for a sip. And as you giggle, don’t shoot any of it out of your nose and most especially not into the coffee. You may add some unwanted slip to the shank.
It’s possible that my bubble could use some decaf.