Vol. 1, Issue 25, November 4, 2003
Twelve Angry Men, and Me
There is something Bracing about a Courtroom, a magical Musty smell which incites the Intellect and challenges the Spirit; I have ever Felt such when walking into that special Place, hallowed in the name of Justice. Ah, Justice!
Now I confess my usual Presence before the Court has been in a Legal capacity; but in this instance - for the first time, ironically, in my long and storied Life - I passed through the Looking-Glass, and was Called upon to serve my Country as one of the Twelve Peers providing a Fair Trial to some well-deserving Miscreant. Jury Duty: it braces the Soul, and the Clarion Call of the little orange Card they mailed me rang bright as the morning Sun. I have never been Privy to this most magnificent of Processes - what a Learning Experience to come!
To my Astonishment, the other Citizens called upon to serve this noble Function seemed less Enthralled with their roles as cogs in the mighty machine that is our Justice System. What a dour bunch! I plied them with Tobacco, until the Bailiff took away my pipe (no smoking? When did this travesty occur?); then Scotch, until the Bailiff asked me to pass the bottle to Him; then cheerful Conversation, until the Judge politely asked me to stop.
One after another, my fellow Americans rose to declare their Complaints; to my Astonishment, they were seeking a way Out of their Responsibilities! Such tales of Tragedy, Hardship and Woe - one would think it were a Melodrama of the old school. If this lot really had the Complaints they pleaded to the Judge, verily would they be the worst Wretches in all Christendom. Instead, they looked well-fed and slightly Peeved.
It was with Relief then that it came to be My turn to speak with the Judge; and boldly did I stand to proclaim my Willingness to undertake this Sacred Duty. I reassured them that my Years as a public Defender allowed me a keen understanding of the Law, and that I was prepared to weigh Carefully the matter at hand with Dignity, Honor, and due Pomp.
But perhaps I was excessive in my Zeal. My compatriots failed to share in my Enthusiasm, and when I sought to conclude my Declaration with a Rousing rendition of "America the Beautiful," the Judge thanked me and Excused me. What! Cast forth! And no one sang with me, either. How odd.
I do not know if the Lad on Trial shall be convicted of the charges brought against him; from the looks of him, he may have been a Cattle-Rustler. But I do hope that those few Fortunate enough to serve this Important duty gave him a fair Trial before sentencing him; I hope as Well to have another Opportunity to revisit this task, and do eagerly await my next little orange Card to sound the Clarion Call once again.