Time-sensitive notification. Open at once.

By , September 19, 2013 10:47 am

Last week I got what looked like a summons for jury duty. It’s actually, like, a pre-summons to determine if I’m eligible to serve, but same difference. My initial reaction was to scoff. I have three kids to care for from 11am on, every day, not to mention that I’m a self-employed freelancer. Nobody’s going to pay me for work I don’t do, civic duty or no civic duty.

I’d be able to get out of this, for sure. Right? Right?! I decided to look into it some more.

Twitter, no faster than Google and somewhat less reliable. I should be in advertising.

I learned that they can’t actually get me out. Except sometimes they can. But maybe not. Being self-employed might be a better bet. This one person’s cousin’s friend was the sole provider for her kids and she still had to serve and they even revoked her Internet! Gasp. Panic. I also learned I should just phone them and find out what the story is.

I didn’t phone.

I put the pre-summons to the side and went on with my life.

Then yesterday, I stepped onto the porch to check the mail and this is what I found:

It was a fat envelope with my name and address clearly displayed in the window.

Oh crap. I didn’t follow up on jury duty and now they’re coming to get me. I don’t know what the next step is if you ignore your summons, but I assume it involves a Kafkaesque holding chamber and subsequent inquisition and imprisonment. If not that, then for sure a massive fine. I got a $30 parking ticket for having the back end of my car poking out an extra three inches past the legal parking zone. I was starting to sweat, just imagining what kind of bill ignoring jury duty earned you. My hands were shaking as I started to open the envelop. I was thinking that maybe imprisonment would be preferable to whatever giant fine was about to be levied against me. I hear Orange is the New Black is a really good show. But I would miss the kids. My stomach hardened into a firm knot any boy scout would be jealous of. I took a deep breath and tore open the envelope.

Seriously, Maclean’s? “Open at once“?! I know the publishing industry is suffering, but has it really come to this? Impersonating a panic-induced-delusion-making government notification in a bid to win my renewal? As if this is really my last chance anyway. Any money, Maclean’s, that I have another offer of subscription at your bargain-basement rate within three months.

And, who knows? I might even take you up on it provided the prison library doesn’t already subscribe since I still haven’t done a thing about that jury summons.


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