Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Jury Duty

TigerBlog spent much of yesterday in Louisiana. His mind did, anyway.

His body was on jury duty. Or, as he likes to call it, "sit in a room with total strangers for a few hours as nobody's number is called."

TigerBlog was called for jury duty one other time in his life, back when he still with the newspaper. On that occasion, he sat around the courthouse for eight hours and had his number called right at 4 for a civil case, only to have one of the lawyers immediately dismiss him.

This time, TB was originally supposed to go in late April, but he got a postponement until mid-June because of lacrosse season. And off he went yesterday morning, ready to fill his role in the justice system. Better than being a defendant, right?

Before he ever reached the courthouse, he realized he'd forgotten the book he wanted to read. It's called "Documents That Changed The Way We Live," by Joe Janes, the official brother-in-law of TigerBlog. He'll report back on it another time.

Fortunately, he had two John McPhee books in his trunk. And so he re-read the first section of "The Control of Nature," which is about the attempts in Louisiana to keep the Atchafalaya River from overwhelming the Mississippi River 300 miles north of New Orleans.

Mr. McPhee had given the book to TigerBlog a little more than a year ago, when TB had gotten back from Lafayette and the NCAA baseball regional there. As part of the drive from New Orleans to Lafayette, TB had been on the team bus when it drove over a 23-mile bridge over the Atchafalaya Basin. When TB mentioned it to Mr. McPhee, he gave the book to TigerBlog - complete with an inscription that read "To the Blazin' Cajun."

Anyway, TB had the book with him when he checked in at 8:30. After a brief orientation for the approximately 100 potential jurors, the woman who was in charge said that she'd be back around 10 with an update on when they'd be needed, though possibly sooner, if something came up.

From that point, TB wouldn't see that woman for awhile. In the meantime, he and his fellow jurors were allowed to spread out a bit - into the hallway, upstairs to a cafe, in the back to a "quiet room." In the main room, a television played daytime TV, including "The Price Is Right." At one point, a man walked in from outside and asked TB if he'd missed anything. TB informed him that the lady on "The Price Is Right" almost won a car but messed it up at the end. He said "no, I meant with the jury stuff."

When TB had gotten his postponement back in April, he called in to the number of his summons and spoke to a woman who very nicely rescheduled him. During the time that TB was in the main room yesterday, that same woman - presumably - was patiently listening to caller after caller tell her why they shouldn't have to be on jury duty without every losing her temper, or mind.

For the most part, TB read his book. When he opened it, the first thing he saw was the inscription. His first thought was that "Cajun" would be a great name for a French bulldog.

The book kept him occupied, though he couldn't find the right spot to read. The hallway was the best air conditioned, but it was also the highest traffic area. There were also people who wanted to chat.

So TB kept reading. He got most of the way through the part about the Mississippi and Atchafalaya, which he'd read before. At no point did the woman come back to call any numbers. None. Eventually, a few hours before the scheduled end time, she let the whole group go, saying no juries would be needed that day in that courthouse.

Maybe it's because for one day, there was no strife?

Anyway, that was TB's second jury duty experience. For this one, he was paid $9, plus $.17 per mile, which brought his total amount to around $16. He elected the option of donating it to one of the three charities offered, in his case, the Wounded Warrior project.

What did he miss at Princeton? There were two new stories on this particular June Monday on goprincetontigers.com.

One was about Dan Mavraides, the former men's basketball player who is competing this week at the FIBA 3-on-3 World Championships in France. Mavraides was a 1,000-point scorer at Princeton before graduating in 2011, after helping Princeton to the Ivy title and NCAA tournament. He reached the 1,000-point mark despite scoring only 11 points as a freshman.

TigerBlog saw last week that 3-on-3 basketball has been added to the 2020 Olympic Games. So have a bunch of other sports. And some existing sports will have some new wrinkles, like swimming and track with co-ed relays.

You can read all about Mavraides HERE.

The other story was about recent men's soccer graduate Steffen Seitz, who earned a bunch of amazing honors with his diploma. You can read about him HERE.

Among those honors, Seitz won a writing prize. From the story:
On graduation day, Seitz was also honored as the recipient of the 2017 Gregory T. Pope '80 Prize for science writing. The Pope Prize is awarded annually to a graduating senior for outstanding articles or papers on scientific topics written for a broad audience. A committee consisting of The Council for Science and Technology members and science writers selected his winning essay "The Wine Menu From Hell: The Schmidt Insect Sting Pain Index."

The title alone was award-winning, right?

Anyway, it was a quiet day. At Princeton, and in the jury room.

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