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Written by Jes-c Brandt   


Here I am, weeks from being a college graduate, teetering between youth and adulthood, and I have something to tell you. I know the secret—the whole concept of “adulthood” is phony.

Becoming an adult doesn’t make you smarter or more mature or better prepared. I’m convinced that the actual change at adulthood is that you join in a national conspiracy to trick minors into believing life will be dramatically different as an adult.

Today I woke up bright and early to attend one of the great rites of passage into adulthood: jury duty. Long before I even knew what jury duty was, I heard this joke. “Just remember: when you go to court, you are trusting your fate to 12 people that weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty!”

Surely I laughed along like a fool, but under my clueless exterior, I was mentally adding jury duty to the list of the many mystical activities adults keep secret from children.

When I received my summons from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I was sitting in my kitchen in Holyoke, Colorado. My mind immediately jumped to that joke, and I thought it was finally my chance to become a real adult. I was going to get out of jury duty, because I was obviously smart enough to do so.

I eagerly went about reading the criteria for being disqualified. Little by little my hope began to fade, and I had an awful realization. I’m not smart enough to get out of jury duty. That joke was about people like me!

Now you would think being in another state would make avoiding the task easy enough, but I quickly found out that since I intended to return to Massachusetts within a year, I could postpone the date, but I was not disqualified from serving.

Begrudgingly I requested to have my date postponed and tried my best to forget about that particular failed rite of passage.

Sure enough, I forgot all about it until recently when a reminder came in the mail. By this point I had moved past my previous failure and now viewed actually serving on the jury as an equally suitable rite of passage.

This morning I arrived at the Hampshire County Courthouse promptly at 8 a.m. I quickly passed through the metal detector and proceeded to check in with the other jurors. As I scanned the room, I soon realized no one else shared my excitement about passing into adulthood.

There’s a simple explanation for this. Everyone else in the room had to have entered adulthood when Kennedy was still in office. I wiped the smile off my face in an attempt to blend in, but I still stood out like a toddler compared to my mature companions.

Probably the most obvious tell was that the experienced adults all came prepared with reading material. No one told me how much waiting was involved in jury duty, so I spent a lot of time reading outdated magazines.

In the moment, I was sure word must have gotten out that I was trying to enter their world, and the actual grownups had gathered to safeguard their secret society of adulthood against young imposters such as myself.

For those of you who have already made it into adulthood, you’ll be happy to know their plan was successful. All of the scheduled trials were settled without a jury, so after nervously sitting in the courthouse for two and half hours I was dismissed.

Technically, I have served my civic duty, but I still feel like I’ve been cheated. For now I don’t mind hanging on to immaturity for a bit longer, but know this: the secret’s out, there’s no point in not letting me into adulthood now.