Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And the Envelope Goes To...

That’s! Yesterday in the mail I received my first ever jury summons. Wow! I picked, 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?)! 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 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.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mine is Bigger Than Yours

So this morning I was flipping channels looking for music, an odd exercise I attempt each morning in my car; strangely enough, most “music stations” are full of not-so-witty banter in the mornings, so my channel flipping can get a bit excessive and somewhat of an exercise in futility. But...I digress...back to my channel flipping... So I’m flipping around and something caught my attention causing me to stop. No, it wasn’t Tina and Ike knocking out “Rolling on the River”, but rather a local radio host mid-pomp, raving on and on about the new Cowboy’s Stadium.

What...a new stadium? You don’t say! Right! So unless you’ve been living under a rock or have absolutely no involvement in professional sports whatsoever, then you are fully aware of what stadium I am referring. Yes, the new Cowboy’s Stadium, also known in my house as “Jerry Jones’ latest homage to his apparently excessive endowment” (I cleaned that name up a bit for the kids). Oh please, you thought he built it for us?

True, he has claimed repeatedly that it was “for the fans”. That’s right, way to sell it to the cheap seats there, Jerry! Cheap seats? Why yes, he has made sure to ensure that families of all socioeconomic standings can still take their entire broods to see America’s Team play weekly. Yep, for just $75 a piece, you too can get yourself seats from way up high in the massive stadium (a.k.a.“the cheap seats”). But never fear, Jerry’s ego has ensured you won’t miss a thing with his Texas, super-sized plasma screen dangling mid-field; take that all you televisions at home! So let’s see, if I take two kids, my husband and myself, why we can have an evening of fun and excitement from the upper-level, way in the back, for just $300 (plus tax and fees). Wow, bargain!

What’s that you say? That’s just too much? Well don’t worry; you see Jerry’s palace o’ fun has options (Jerry loves him some options). You can hang out and watch them game from the new Party Level. Why for just a mere $29 a ticket, you and your family can stand shoulder-to-shoulder for four to six hours with some of Dallas’ finest sports drinkers in the world’s largest beer garden. You’ll be able to watch the game from smaller screens, like you have at home, or, if you’re lucky, you can get close enough to the balcony to see the game as you gaze out from the over-crowded Bavarian-wonderland. Ahhhhhh, why doesn’t that sound like pure paradise? Bliss!

I can hear you asking now, “But how will I get there?” No worries my friend, Jerry has once again come through for the great fans of Dallas. Just say no to DART and drive and park yourself! You can park in any of the 12,000 parking spaces (keep in mind the stadium holds over 100,000 folks) or over to the Ranger’s Ball Park, park and walk on over (there are another 12,000 spaces over there). According to the website, “parking prices will vary depending on event and location”, so just to be safe, better bring an extra $25-$50 with you, because, well, you never know.

Look, I’m all for making my city seem better and providing improvements as needed, but was this really needed? I guess if my ego needed to be fed continually by the press on every major network and radio station, then sure. No really, I swear, I had a hard time finding out details of the game or listening to pre-game banter about the players as the airwaves seemed to just be oozing with discussions about the stadium and not the players. Why, for the pregame show, they spent 15 minutes touring the stadium; I lost track of the amount of time they then spent discussing said tour after the fact.

Uhm, did I miss something? Wasn’t this supposed to be about the team and the fans? All I’ve been hearing for weeks now is “the biggest stadium in the league” this or “the stadium has raised the bar for the other owners in the league” that. And I’m sick of hearing about “Jerry’s House”!!!! Dude, Jerry’s damn house is in Park Cities with his wife!

About the time I finished calming down from the radio host’s daily waxing on “how great the stadium is”, my drive guided me past the old Texas Stadium; something it does twice a day in fact. Yes, there it was, that relic of past football history, just standing there awaiting the unavoidable future of demolition that lies ahead. That beautiful piece of history, decorated in blue and silver that housed so many Cowboy memories of my youth.

Looking at it, I can see why we must have needed a new stadium. Why, the parking at the stadium itself and in the surrounding three lots just aren’t shining enough to list as “prices available per event”. The stadium itself, a landmark that I have often smiled at thinking “I’m home” as my plane flew over it, really isn’t flashy enough to be in the same league as Candle Stick in San Francisco...oh, excuse me, 3Com Park that is. I mean really, how could the Cowboys possibly be expected to win a championship in that thing?!?! Oh wait, they’ve done that...5 Super Bowls and 8 Conference Championships to be specific.

Well, who would want to attend a game in an old relic like that then, right? Nope, hold it again; don’t they have one of the longest standing records of consecutive sold out games? Why yes, Rebecca, they do in fact! And uhm, didn’t we have a touch-and-go moment here in Dallas this past week about the new stadium not being sold out causing the game to almost be blacked out here at home? Hummm...then we must have built the stadium so that the Olympic Committee would select us for the next Summer Games? Nope, nope, nope...I seem to recall that title going to New York. then, could someone please tell me, why then, is America’s Team playing in a stadium that has less parking, is way more expensive on a per event level and has the potential of not selling out weekly, preventing the fans of Dallas from watching it on television? Oh that’s right, because Jerry’s is bigger than all the other owner’s…..stadiums, that is.