0 Angry Men

I was selected for jury duty this week.

Actually, I was selected back in September. But that wasn’t convenient for me, so I requested a postponement. You have to pick a date sometime within the next six months, so I perused the calendar and decided that the week of January 9th would be about as dead as dead could be. When Sunday rolled around, I had to start calling the Jury Information Line for recorded instructions.

I’m not going to lie: I was hoping I wouldn’t get chosen. I’m not even really sure why. It’s not like I have a job to worry about or anything else very pressing in my life these days. Plus, I love a good John Grisham legal thriller as much as the next fella. Hell, I was a big fan of L.A. Law back in the day. I find courtrooms fascinating, and the American judicial system intriguing. Still, I couldn’t work up much excitement over the possibility of having to actually serve, so when my group number wasn’t required to report on Monday, I was hardly devastated. On Tuesday, they skipped my group too, and on Wednesday nobody had to report. At that point I started feeling cocky, telling my friends and family that it looked like I’d skirted my civic duty.

Naturally, that’s when they called my group number.

And of course, it was the least convenient day of the week for me. I actually had a lot going on, including a job interview scheduled for 4 PM and a dinner with my parents for my dad’s birthday. My first instinct was to Google “how to get out of jury duty.” There are some interesting tips online, lemme tell ya, but most of them would A. Really piss off a judge, and B. Make me look like a moron in the process. I have too much self-respect for B to be an option, and am far too paranoid about being pulled over for phantom traffic violations by cop buddies of some disgruntled judge to make A look any more appealing. Still, I could plead hardship if I really wanted to.

But then Tara and I were texting, and a few sweet words on her part made me realize how trivial worrying over something like jury duty is. She made me see the Bigger Picture, and considering that I was already in a rah-rah-life-is-awesome mood after that morning’s amazing sunrise, I decided to quit bitching and just go with the flow. In fact, I began to think the whole experience might actually be fun. Deciding the fate of an individual is heady stuff, and besides, getting an up close and personal look at how the wheels of justice turn might just inspire my next book.

So this morning I was up early and arrived at the courthouse before 8:00. I promptly set off the metal detector and was practically asked to undress before passing through again, and then my belt got caught in the rollers and started to get all tangled up before I was able to dislodge it. Hardly an auspicious beginning, but I made it to the Jury Assembly Room without further incident, and the waiting commenced. There were only about eighteen of us there – hardly the large crowd I had anticipated – so I figured my odds of getting selected would be pretty high. We were told there was a civil trial, it would most likely last just a single day, and we’d be paid $10 plus mileage for our time. I was secretly hoping for something juicier where the death penalty might be an option, but no such luck. At 8:30 we were told we’d be going into the courtroom to hear about the case, meet the judge, and be grilled by the attorneys at 9 AM. I settled in with a book to wait.

Even the Founding Fathers loved jury duty! (Courtesy of forbes.com).

Fifteen minutes later, the jury coordinator announced that she’d just received word that the trial had been cancelled and we were free to go. Our service term was up, just like that.

I was half disappointed, half relieved. How fun it would have been to hole up in a room with eleven of my peers while deciding the fate of the guilty bastard! accused, 12 Angry Men-style.

Oh, well. It simply wasn’t meant to be.

And speaking of “simply,” I have a special treat for you. I am turning over the second half of this post to Catherine from Simply Solo. I had promised her the use of my blog sometime, and yesterday she called in a favor and decided to collect. It’s only fair; I’ve guest posted on her blog a bunch of times. Never linked to those posts here, because Simply Solo is basically a dating blog, and I never write about relationship stuff.


In any case, here’s Catherine. When she isn’t writing about relationship stuff, she’s talking about dressing up like a zombie or surviving those vicious east coast earthquakes. You should check her out. And don’t just skip ahead and leave a comment now, because she’s even promising to dress up like a French maid for one lucky person who follows her link below, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity like that!


About a million years ago, Mark very graciously offered me a chance to rant on his blog. I proceeded to totally forget about it. I mean, what do I have to rant about? I get all my ranting out on my blog, Simply Solo. In fact, I’m usually quite exhausted (sometimes slightly embarrassed) from my own blog posts. But this week, it became evident to me what I must rant about. The drag out, no-holds-barred competition that I’m in the fight of my life to win. The upcoming winter Olympics got nothing on this battle I’m about to tell you about.

Okay, I’m being slightly dramatic. Here’s the deal: One of my clients is having a contest for the chance to win an iPad 2, a pair of Manolo Blahniks or a wine party for 20 from Rioja Wines. There is also a separate contest between my colleagues and me to see who can get the most entries for the contest. It’s down to me and another girl fighting desperately for first place. The thing is, this girl is a born winner. She’s about the most competitive person I’ve ever met, but being competitive is new to me. It feels weird. I’m finding myself obsessively checking the score and peeing an awful lot. Oh, and calling on random friends like Mark to help.

Will you help me win by entering to win yourself? I’ll be forever in your debt. Want my first born? Done. Need a maid for the day? Just give me a sec to grab my Comet and plastic gloves. Want me to wear a French maid costume while I’m cleaning? Okay, now I think you are taking this a bit far.

All you need to do is enter your email address and zip code to this link by midnight this Saturday: http://www.crttriojafriendsandfamily.com/ads/crt?referredby=CGryp@CRT-tanaka.com. If you have multiple email addresses, enter them all – more chances to win! And please share it with all your friends and family. Tell them I’m the underdog. Tell them they can win great prizes. Tell them entering might solve some disease. Hell, tell them whatever you want to get their support. I need absolutely every entry possible.

If you happen to post it on Facebook, please remind your friends to enter the link I just gave that has cgryp in it, not the link that Facebook automatically generates (the one Facebook generates doesn’t properly track entries).

Thanks so much for your help! Mark’s blog is one of my absolute favorites, and it truly is an honor to have an opportunity to rant to you all.


There you go! Feel free to help a sister out. Well, not my sister, but a sister. And by the way, if you’re ever interested in guest posting here, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to feature you on the pages of my blog. Jess Witkins has done it! My awesome girlfriend has done it! All the cool kids are doing it…you can, too!

All you gotta do is ask.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

22 thoughts on “0 Angry Men

  1. In Miami they pay only $15 a day for jury duty and no longer pay for parking and lunch. Probably 70% of people in this town make $8-$10 an hour so it is a real hardship. The Fed courts are not so cheap as the county.


    1. We would have been on our own for lunch. Cheap bastards. Is it any wonder people look for excuses?

      I’m off the hook for a year now, at least. I’ll bet you anything the next time I’m summoned it’ll be even less convenient. I’m kinda wishing I’d gotten to observe a trial today!


    1. I entered, too. I’d better get the iPad 2, though…I’ll be pissed if I end up with Manolo Blahniks (though it would make Christmas shopping for Tara this year a little easier).

      And, LMAO! I actually put on a pair of jeans today. Jury duty = dressing up. With my Broncos sweatshirt, I was stylin’!


  2. Well, at least it’s over now. Believe it or not, I have never had to do jury duty. I was called back when we were living in Vietnam, but I got out of it since they didn’t want to cover the cost of my commute from Hanoi. Cheap bastards!


  3. Mark is a very stylish man with his sweats, belt, fanny pack, flannel shirt, and crooked ballcap.

    And I’ve got three email accounts and will use all of them. Good luck, Catherine!


  4. Oh my, I’m reading this post thinking, “I hope to god they dont call me again for jury duty!!!”

    As you already know, I got pardoned from my last jury duty, but I fear that the next time I won’t!!!

    Oh well, like you shared….if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. And it might fun at that!


    Yes, I will definitely click on the link you shared and help you out. Hope you win!!!!!


  5. I’m not gonna comment on the belt. I would have thought you more of a fanny-pack kinda guy…or a man-purse, european carry-all type thingy.

    Don’t you just love my techie words?!?!


    Good luck Catherine!! I entered and so did hubby only he doesn’t know it.


  6. Thanks again, Mark, for agreeing to post my rant about the contest on your blog! You are the best. And so are your readers! You guys rock…thanks for all the entries! Thanks to your efforts, I’m currently winning by about 10 entries. I suspect my coworker is planning a sneak attack closer to the end, so if you haven’t entered already, it is not too late! Midnight on Saturday! Enter yourself, your unwitting husband as Tracy did, and share with anyone that might be interested in some cool free stuff. I hope one of you guys wins… If you win the shoes, I totally want to see them!!

    Oh and Mark: I’m kinda bummed that your jury duty experience fell through! I almost want you to volunteer for another round so that we can hear all about it. With your storytelling abilities, I bet you could make even the most boring trial interesting!

    Off to shop for a French maid costume…. Be sure to make a list of what you need cleaned in your house; I’m on the way 🙂


    1. I was beginning to think my own experience would be limited to checking in the night before. At least I got to see the inside of the jury waiting room. It was kind of like a doctor’s office, right down to the old magazines on the tables.


  7. I’ve always wondered if jury duty would turn out like the old glasses & braces debacle of my youth. I always wanted to wear glasses and braces because all the older kids I knew wore them. FINALLY, my time came, only I didn’t feel as cool as I thought I would. I couldn’t eat bread without looking like a hot mess and my nose is forever dented 🙂


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