The Sound Of Settling

Doug Llewellyn  says, “Don’t take the law into your own hands. You take ’em to court.” And I’m with him 110%. But not today.

Listen, I’m a law abiding citizen. Excepting maybe jaywalking, I’m down with the Rule of Law. I mean, yes, the masses are asses. But in general, if you’re gonna’ live on a twenty-two square mile island with one and a half million people, well, you’re gonna’ need to agree on a few things. And generally, I believe that if you throw a dozen or so rational adults into a room and say, “Figure this out,” well, they probably will.

But not me. Not today.

I’d called in my postponement for New York State Supreme Court jury duty three times, which means no more deferment without showing my face. So I trekked down to City Hall — a staggering, awe-inspiring group of building, really — found my way through the metal detectors, signed away my digital camera, and made my way to room 1121. I walked in during the brief video presentation in which a few mild-mannered citizens remind us that, not only is jury duty our civic duty, but it’s a lot of fun. Those few hundred people crammed into the narrow faux-leather seats looked like they were having about as much fun as a root canal.

The dude in the front of the room, some kind of clerk I imagine, is a kindly, white-haired Irishman. He’s straight out of “Hill Street Blues.” He’s hard boiled, kinda’ funny, kinda’ stern. He welcomes everyone and begins listing reasons for exemption. “If you have a criminal record, you may be exempted. If you are not a citizen of the United States of America, you may be exempted. If you do not currently reside in Manhattan, you may be exempted. If you you have a child under 16-years-old at home, you may be exempted.” And for a minute there, I wish I were a thiefing, Guatemalan father from Brooklyn. But alas, I’m an American music journalist from the Upper West Side.

Still, there’s no way I can serve. My boss has strongly encouraged me to postpone as I’m down four employees. Plus, I’m going away for the weekend. I’m not so sure that’s gonna’ matter to the Supreme Court though.

So I walk over to the administrative office at 60 Centre Street, find my way through the metal detectors, signed away my digital camera, and made my way to room 139. I wait in line. A nice older woman says, “Next!” I turn on the charm.

“Good morning ma’am, how are you?”

She looks up. “Fine, thanks. How are you?”

“Well I’m pretty terrific, thanks,” I say, handing over my summons.

“MTV!” she says. “I love to watch MTV. It’s got lots of action!”

I laugh and say, “It most certainly does. Lots to look at.”

“Oh yeah,” she says. “I’m always watching MTV. So what is your reason for postponement?” she asks, smiling.

“Well, the aformentioned action, I guess.”

“Ok, when do you want to serve?”

We agree on September, giving me plenty of time to stabalize the News team, and pass through the summer rush and Video Music Awards.

“Well thank you very much, ma’am. And keep watching!”

Thank you, judicial system. And thank you, MTV.

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