Mirandized. Whether we have ever experienced it personally or not, it is the one case of law we are all familiar with. We have heard it enough times on television that were we ever to be arrested we could say with conviction whether or not we had been mirandized. This piece of jurisprudence came about in 1966 when the Supreme Court voted 5-4 that both inculpatory and exculpatory statements made in response to interrogation of a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning and of the right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police, and that the defendant not only understood these rights, but voluntarily waived them. (The last part of this law is the part that leaves me in a dither. “That the defendant understood these rights”. Hmmmmm. Most days I can’t understand the difference between salt and sugar. Don’t worry. I don’t really know what inculpatory and exculpatory mean, but I do know what it means to be mirandized.)
Being a writer of humor that mostly involves the things I see and hear, most of what I write is about other people, events not involving myself, and things I overhear other people say. To keep myself out of the legal arena, I do my best to “wandacize” those around me. Ok, I’m not sure that “wandacize” is the right word, but I’m guessing it might just catch on if I use it enough. I’m sure that Miranda was a real person in the Miranda vs. Arizona case that brought about the word mirandized. I’m also sure that I’m a real person. Well, most days I’m sure.
I am certain most of you have seen on police dramas on the television when a policeman mirandizes someone they always have that little card they read from, just to make sure they get it right. They read from the card the first time they mirandize someone. They read from the card the 459th time they mirandize a suspect, and they read from the card the 945th time they mriandize someone.
I make “wandacizing” someone much easier. I don’t read from the card. I just hand the card to them assuming they can read.
My “wandacize” card reads as follows:
Writer at work / Eavesdropping In Progress
- You have the right to remain silent
- Anything and everything you say or do will eventually be written in one of my stories
- Only when it suits my purpose, makes the story funnier, or I am threatened (bribes accepted) will I even consider changing the name of any person I write about
I also have the cutest picture on the front of the card. People mistake her for me all the time.
I carry the card with me and hand it out when the conversations around me take a turn toward the interesting and humorous.
I listen a bit and then if things are really good I hand out the cards. Just a bit too late for them to stop the current story, and by the next time they have something to say they will have forgotten the card. But they can’t say they haven’t been warned.
From the life and mind of:
Wanda M. Argersinger
©2010 All Rights Reserved