Jury, 1957; Iraq, 2003

“It’s very hard to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And no matter where you run into it, prejudice obscures the truth. Well, I don’t think any real damage has been done here. Because I don’t really know what the truth is. No one ever will, I suppose. Nine of us now seem to feel that the defendant is innocent, but we’re just gambling on probabilities. We may be wrong. We may be trying to return a guilty man to the community. No one can really know. But we have a reasonable doubt, and this is a safeguard which has enormous value to our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it’s SURE. We nine can’t understand how you three are still so sure. Maybe you can tell us.”

—Juror #8 in 12 Angry Men

Sniffles

I have my mother’s sneeze.

I have my mother’s sneeze.

It’s a big, satisfying sort of sneeze, high-pitched and assertive, a face-twisting “ehh-echhu!” that usually hits in pairs, not threes.

My nose-blowing is my father’s, a hearty, head-clearing honk that can turn heads. I usually leave a crowded room to blow my nose without disturbing anyone.

The runny nose causing the sneezing and nose-blowing today is neither Mom’s nor Dad’s but the product of my ENT, who tinkered extensively with the inner workings of my schnoz today and reduced me to a mucusy, sneezy mass.

I’m going to go and lay down for a while.