Jury Day! It’s a Privilege to Serve!

New Girl I was SO EXCITED to be picked for jury duty in Dallas County! “It’s a privilege to serve,” they told me. SPOILER ALERT! Jury duty is SO not what you think it is.

So, I’m just a regular working gal in Dallas. Like Jess on New Girl. When I got my summons, I watched the “Jury Duty” episode like 10 times to prepare (Season 5, Episode 3). I was surprised to be selected since I’m not all Junior League. But, a jury of my peers? What if I was selected by mistake? But, Oprah says step into the opportunity when it presents itself. I have my college degree, of course. From one of those online, for-profit schools. So, you know I got my money’s worth. Not like those government-funded state schools. Who wants to go to a school that’s on welfare?

I knew I had to look my best. I had a month to prepare so I did a colon cleanse and got a Brazilian wax. I had my eyebrows threaded and got a mani-pedi. I bought a new bra and panty set at Victoria’s Secret. Usually, I don’t spend that kind of money on unmentionables, but you never know. Courts are full of lawyers and judges. I’m still single at 26, so I have to work my “assets” if I want to catch a man by 30, if you know what I mean.

To be honest, I debated on the mani-pedi in light of the jury pampering. But, better prepared and ask for a rain check. I was so curious. Would they have a seated chair massage? Makeovers? Maybe a swag bag of samples from Ulta and gift certificates from local salons.

They had us watch a video sponsored by the Dallas Bar Association. Now, as a lapsed Baptist, I do drink, but it’s not like I’m an alcoholic. Normally, I wouldn’t drink before noon. But, it’s not like you do jury duty every day. And, this was my first time. How cool would it be, starting the day with some mimosas at the courthouse? Maybe happy hour after we’ve sent some sleaze bags to prison or saved some of the wrongly accused. I hope they have Chex Mix and not those awful wasabi peanuts. I never drink and drive so I Ubered to the courthouse.

SPOILER ALERT! I guess it should have been a red flag when the Uber driver was totally unimpressed that he was delivering me to the courthouse for JURY DUTY. It was almost like he did this every day. I was expecting a special entrance for the select few who were summoned to represent democracy and the values of our Founding Fathers. Instead, I was herded through a security checkpoint that made the TSA line at the airport look swanky. Who were all these fat, old people in t-shirts and sweat pants? Was it a tour group from Arkansas or something? Imagine my surprise to find out these were the “jury of my peers.” And, it got worse.

It turns out that the Dallas Bar Association is a group of lawyers! Talk about bait and switch. Talk about poor branding. When I buy a Cover Girl Colorlicious Lip Gloss at Walgreens, I get lip gloss made in America by Cover Girl factory workers. How can lawyers, who put drunk drivers in jail, call themselves the bar association? That’s something that needs to be investigated on Fox News, if you ask me. Not only that, we didn’t even get free coffee or water. They had vending machines selling Funyuns and RC Cola! I may not be all Junior League but I’m not trailer trash either. And, it got worse, if that was possible.

It turns out that all that talk about jury pampering. . . .  Well, it’s jury Tampering. With a “t.”

And, it wasn’t just that you didn’t get a chair massage or free samples. There was no chance to hobnob with the lawyers or the judge. And, it turns out that you can’t use Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat while you’re on a jury! Seriously? No selfies with the judge or the lawyers or the other jury members? I don’t think you should have to give up your right to free speech in order to serve on a jury. That’s something that needs to be investigated on Fox News, if you ask me.

I have to tell you, jury duty nothing like it’s cracked up to be. My advice to you when you receive your summons? Save yourself a lot of heartache and tell them you’re caring for an invalid.

Gretchen Martens is a DCH graduate who performs with Been There Done That and Brain Wearing Pants. When she’s not working as an executive coach and trainer, she writes satire for her blog www.PotatoNationUSA.com. She is finishing her first play, sanINity, an irreverent look at losing a loved one to mental illness.