That’s right...me! Yesterday in the mail I received my first ever jury summons. Wow! I know...me...they picked me...finally...wow, they really, really like me! (She bows, waving and thanking the crowd!) Sigh, I can hear many of you now, “Seriously, calm down, it’s just jury duty”, but let me explain a little something here; I’ve been of legal voting age for twenty years now, that’s right...twenty years, during which time never have I once been called for duty. Ever!
I know for a lot of folks jury duty is a pain in the butt. I’ve heard the jokes and endured the comments for years as co-workers and others complained about having to serve. I’d always have to explain that I’ve never had the opportunity to serve because I’ve never been called. “Consider yourself lucky,” has been the standard response I’ve received over the years. (Funny, these are also the same people that tell me that voting doesn’t matter and that one vote doesn’t count.)
Lucky? Lucky that I haven’t been able to attempt to do my civic duty? Lucky that I haven’t been able to be a part of due-process? Lucky that I haven’t been given the opportunity to earn $7 for my time, but pay $4 of it for parking? Okay, so the last one was a joke, but honestly, I think it’s kind of a cool gig! (And apparently now you can even chose to donate your $7 to a children’s shelter…right on!)
I suppose that I’ve never been called up to this point due to my nomadic nature; I don’t stay in one place very long because I get very antsy and bored. I like change. Change means opportunity. Change charts a course for a new adventure. Change wipes the slate clean and let’s you start all over. Remember each Fall when you gathered all your new school supplies and prepared to head back to school? Remember how the crayons smelled or the true beauty of that new notebook that was sitting there all pristine just waiting for your newest doodles? See, I’m one of those people who need that feeling every so often, and since I no longer have the opportunity for new school supplies each Fall, I either change where I live or change the inside of where I live.
Like the first day of school, I was so excited that I whipped out my number two pencil and began filling out my form immediately (once a little over-achiever, always a little over-achiever, right?)! Wait...you can do it online? Aces…even better! I logged in, full of excitement that I am finally able to do my part. Anticipation builds as I answer the questions. Question number eight appears...“I am a resident of Dallas County?”. Uhm, wait, what? Well of course I’m not; you know that because you sent me the jury request to my mailing address, the same address that is on my voter registration and my driver’s license. Duh!
And that was it; that was the moment when my Wednesday because a Monday. Bam! Just like that, my excitement of finally being able to take part in my civic duty disappeared into the fog outside on this otherwise, dreary Dallas morning.
That got me thinking...here I am hoping to serve and do my part, while so many others do all they can to not be selected. Makes me wonder, if so many people dread the required duty, how good of a job are they doing once they are selected? Are they actually providing a service or simply biding their time until they are allowed to leave?
So what if next time you get that envelop requesting your presence, instead of instantly thinking “ugh, really?”, why not try and look at it as a winning opportunity. You have officially been given a day away from the stresses of your normal work life and have a chance to have an impact on the process. Why not embrace it as an opportunity to meet new people or to spend the day people watching while you wait to be called, instead of viewing it as a forced intermingling between strangers with whom, you’re sure, you have nothing in common with. Stop looking for the loop-hole that will get you out of it, and instead, belly-up-to-the-bar and recognize it as a chance that our Founding Fathers has provided you…kind of like voting. Don’t meet it with a “one person can’t make an impact” kind of attitude; instead, be thankful that you live some place that allows for such an opportunity and remember that, as proven over 200 years ago in our Nation, one person CAN make a difference.