The juror engineer

The phone rang, and a very familiar number flashed up.

Hi, dear.”

Well, I got questioned and released again, so I’m sitting around. Is there anything downtown you want me to take care of while I’m here?”

Can’t think of anything. You could call Sean at work and drop by to see him, though.”

I might just do that.”Poor Jeff; he’s been called for jury duty this week and can’t seem to get seated on a jury, no matter how hard or honestly he tries. He’s part of a jury pool of about a hundred people that have been borrowed from their workplaces for the duration of this week. Their purpose: to sit (bored) in a room, waiting for the winds of fate to force a case to trial so that a group of them can file in to a courtroom, be solemnly oathed and sworn, and then questioned momentarily before being summarily punted back to the jury pool for another go at the next available trial.

There are rumors at his (engineering-oriented) firm that engineers don’t get seated on local juries very often. As a breed, they are the original double-edged sword, as capable of recognizing good scientific evidence as they are of detecting bad scientific evidence.

Woe betide the lawyer who attempts to pull a scientific fast one over an engineer juror—and, more importantly, woe betide the client that lawyer represents.

Jeff took a book with him yesterday, to pass the time. Assuming he’d buckle down and study, he took the altogether-famous Perl ‘camel book.’ Had I known, I would have quietly stolen the book and replaced it with a yummy bit of fiction. It is a demonstrable fact that while O’Reilly books make excellent reference manuals, as reading material goes they’re quite possibly one of the best sleep aids ever invented.

He knows that I’ve got a list of books that I’d love for him to read—books that I think, given his personality and reading style, that I believe he’d enjoy. He asked me if I possibly had something that I could recommend to him. Unbeknownst to him, I’ve had my copy of A Prayer For Owen Meany stashed in my nightstand, waiting on him to ask me that very question.

Until a time this week that a local jury decides it needs an engineer, Jeff and Mr. Meany will just have to get to know each other.

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