The Norman Transcript

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September 6, 2013

What happened next?

NORMAN — Have you ever witnessed an accident or caught a glimpse of an event or action which left you wondering how it all turned out?

It is difficult to ignore a driver weaving from one lane to the other. Even though the time he stayed in any given lane varied, anyone watching his travel pattern felt compelled to slow down to avoid getting too close to him. When he drove through a small town, he included the turn lane in his personal three lane travels.

Suddenly, he was in the oncoming lane and within seconds he collided almost head on with an oncoming car. The cars were spinning and spewed flying debris flying everywhere. The scene resembled the children’s game “Battling Tops” — tops are released into the playing field, collide and eliminate the opposition.

The door on the driver’s side of the car was peeled off, airbags were deployed and the guy sat there repeating, “I’m sorry.” His eyes were shiny.

Some said the other driver was hurt, but then the police came. They took our witness statements and sent us on our way. To this day, when passing the spot where the accident happened, I wonder how it all played out. Did the other driver recover? Was this driver arrested? Were drugs involved?

Jury duty has the same potential to drive you crazy. The entire process reminds one of a casting call or “cattle call” for a movie or a play.

The swearing in and selection process is intermixed with tedious waiting. Unless you bring a book, you might fall asleep. I read one book on my Kindle and started another.

Eventually potential jurors are called to various courtrooms for the preliminary examination. This is called voir dire [vwaar déer], meaning “to speak the truth.” It is from the Old French and is almost always mispronounced and/or Americanized as [vor dire]. I was tempted to tell the judge and the lawyers how it should be pronounced, but muzzled my teacher-persona.

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