Michael R. Doughty, Grand Juror Number ______.

March 28, 2005

I was picked as a Grand Juror this morning. (Should that, in fact, be capitalized?)

I sat in a huge, windowless courtroom–unadorned other than a plain IN GOD WE TRUST over the flags and the judge’s chair–with a couple hundred other New Yorkers, a number of them seeming like they needed to look into their anger-management issues. In situations like this, I’m always struck, and humbled, by the diversity of New York, and New Yorkers. Believe it or not, I was actually kind of feeling good to be there.
It’s notable to me that my segment of New York, the hipsters, are in fact a tiny minority. There was one gallery-owner looking woman with a floppy hat and a sort of Diane Keaton zoot suit, and an East Village-y guy with a lip piercing and fingerless gloves. That’s it.
After a long speech and question and answer session lead by one of my favorite Comedia Dell’arte types of New Yorkers–the grandstanding, magnanimous New York civil servant–they called out a long list of names, most of whom hadn’t bothered to show up. You’d call out either “March 28″ or “April 11,” the date on which you preferred to commence your service. I called April 11, and then was immediately bummed that the vast majority of others were canny enough to have said March 28. This gave them longer odds in getting called up.
So I stood in the back of the room while they hauled out an cylindrical card-mixer-upper with a hand crank and pulled out names. IN GOD WE TRUST, indeed. Both the zoot suit woman and the fingerless gloves guy got called, too. I was immediately pissed off, in a very New Yorker kind of way, as it seemed everybody else knew how to game the system, and I was the chump who couldn’t scam my way out of serving.
But the truth is, I’m perversely stoked to be doing this. Despite that my manager, finding out that I’ll be unavailable for two weeks in the month before my album comes out, expressed a desire to stab himself in the chest with a fat pencil. I’m happy to be a citizen.
I have a strange daydream that my old drug dealer–who actually cut me off at one point, when it looked pretty clear that I was about to die–is going to be standing in front of me, on this grand jury, and I’m going to have to vote on whether he gets indicted.