Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jury Duty – A Lesson in Pronunciation and Enunciation

I had to show up for jury duty yesterday in State Supreme Court - 500 generally pissed off people waiting around all day for their names to be called.

We weren’t treated badly, and the seating wasn’t wholly uncomfortable – but the sound system was rather poor. And on top of that, the court employees mispronounced – literally – every other name. Especially coming from people who read lists of names every day, I found this astounding.

Of course there are a whole hell of a lot of difficult-to-pronounce names in Brooklyn, and in any place with a mix of ethnic backgrounds. But for God’s sake, some of it was entirely inexcusable.

One gentleman stumbled a few times over the following name: Stephanie Reynolds.

Not kidding.

Now, I can understand a name like Relavizadabezadeh Ayanbademinejabadahlajab causing some problems – and I’m sure there were a few of those yesterday – but again, with as much practice as these people get reading out names, they should be MUCH better at it by now.

I did actually get called for a case, but they picked the jury before I had a chance to actually sit in the box and answer any questions. It was a civil case, in which a passenger was suing everyone involved in the accident – both drivers, and the owner of the car in which she had been riding.

Give her $50k and call it a day, as I always say. So maybe that wasn’t the case for me anyway.

I found the experience somewhat interesting, somewhat frustrating, somewhat boring, and somewhat swine flu paranoia-inducing. Someone was wearing a hospital mask in the waiting room. And with all those people sneezing around me, one of them was bound to have it.

By the time I have to serve again – 8 years from now – I’m sure they’ll have a vaccine ready, and those people who read the names will have had 8 more years of practice.

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