Close encounter of the Kobe kind |

Close encounter of the Kobe kind

Of all the people, it was me.After all the commentaries, the incredibly nasty e-mails, the death threats, the pats on the back and the slaps in the face – it was still me. Tsk-tsk, if only wagers could have been placed beforehand. Adam Aaron would have better odds running for county commissioner.What began as an average, ordinary Monday morning showing up for potential jury duty concerning a high-powered, ultra-wealthy national sports figure accused of not-very-nice interracial sexual misconduct (and who hasn’t had THAT kind of a Monday) evolved into an excruciating experience in which I was not allowed to finish my coffee.Oh, the horror.I strolled inside Eagle County Courthouse with a smile, and after emptying myself of all possessions as if I were flying to Kabul for the weekend, was told my plastic coffee mug could not come through the metal detector.”But it’s plastic,” I said, too stupid to know any better.Nope. Still not allowed.”Do you have a Styrofoam cup I could put it in?”Nope. It wasn’t the mug, it was the mocha-tinged java inside causing the crisis.”Well then, where do you want me to stick this?” I asked while holding up the mug for all to see, giving anyone – anyone at all – with a sense of humor to make the appropriate snappy comeback.The crickets echoed throughout the judicial hallways.Strolling through the uranium sensor, I continued beeping until they finally pulled me aside for a more personal purging. Three tries later, the nice officer shrugged his shoulders and suggested I proceed anyway.”You think it’s these sunglasses on top of my head?” I asked with a smirk.Again, nobody appreciates early Monday morning humor.I am not allowed to talk about the next part (what happens in Courtroom No. 2, stays in Courtroom No. 2), but suffice it to say Judge Ruckriegle was pleasant, thorough and provided plenty of reasons not to discuss anything to anyone, especially about the 82 very private questions we were all in attendance to answer.Each of which were plastered on the Internet the very next day.Anyway, once finished and granted permission to leave, I headed for the little boys room before the long (OK, only 20 minutes) drive home. Approaching the turn into the short hallway with MEN on the right and OTHER on the left, my chest was halted just short of the turn by the fingers of a serious looking fellow with an earpiece. He was fiddling with it and mumbling while looking to his left. Without making eye contact, he asked me to, “Hold on for a second, please.”Before I could question why, the light from above was obliterated by a large mass to my right, casting a tremendous shadow across Mr. Earpiece with the poking fingers. Turning my head that direction, I was forced (not coerced, mind you) to take my gaze upward at the fast-approaching object.”Hey, he’s the reason I’m here,” I somewhat shouted a tad louder than I probably should have.Sweeeeet.Yes, it was No. 8 himself, being escorted to presumably perform a No. 1.Of all the people to run into the big guy outside the little boys room, it was little ol’ me.Doesn’t that just make some of you nasty e-mail authors want to puke?Restraining myself, I waited a few seconds for two bodyguard-looking types and the Main Attraction to disappear into the restroom. Another guy with an earpiece stood sentry.”I’ll give you 20 big ones if you let me go potty next to him.”This guy actually smiled, but nevertheless did not think it was a good idea.”I wonder what questions the tabloids would have asked?”He chuckled, but I was still not provided any leeway.A few seconds later the Major and both minors emerged. No eye contact from any of them.”All scrubbed for DNA?” I said while touching a hand to my ear. Yes, it was an immature attempt at making a funny, but you know, sometimes these things just happen.The moment was almost imperceptible, but I swear I saw a quick flinch of a neck turn in my direction. Just as fast, though, the head snapped back forward and the charade (I mean, parade) continued, with “Oohs” and “Ahs” permeating throughout the legal chambers.– n nI was just about to complete this column minutes before last Thursday’s surprise announcement. The young lady’s action only further invalidated her claims, yet the same applies to Kobe’s “I’m sort of sorry” statement. We will never know the truth about her decision (if indeed it was her own), and we’ll never know the truth about that fateful summer night.Frankly though, my dear fellows, I no longer give a damn.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.netVail, Colorado

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