No More Possessions
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My Close Call with the Law

While on a beautiful late summer afternoon walk with a friend in Cambridge’s magnificent Mt. Auburn garden cemetery, my phone rang.  I didn’t recognize the number and normally wouldn’t have answered, but it was from Washington, DC, and something made me take the call.

The male voice on the other end announced that he was calling from the sheriff’s office.  Since my children live in nearby Maryland, I was terrified that something had gone terribly wrong.

Instead, he told me that I needed to take immediate action or I would be arrested because I failed to show up for jury duty.  If I did not take action, I would be jailed until this was resolved.  He told me to take out a pencil and write down the instructions he would give me.  I told him I was in the woods walking and had no pencil and paper.

Further, I told him that I hadn’t lived in Washington, DC for five years, and if I was sent a letter directing me to show up for jury duty there, I never received it.  Then he told me I should go to the nearest police station and follow instructions.

I accused him of scamming me.  He didn’t like that.  I guess he finally gave up because he said he would take my name off his list.

My friend who only heard my half of the conversation was perplexed and frightened for me.  But it was over.

Just another walk in the park. 


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Arthur Clarke

In Massachusetts, if you are over 70 you don’t have to serve again. I wonder if DC has a similar limit. At 81 I haven’t been called in 11 years.

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