Take off your pants and pull up your nap mats because it’s story time with IBBB. Let’s take a journey onto my trip to “The Jury Duty.” It’s a magical time, really. Especially because this was my first time serving Jury Duty in sunny NYC. I was sweaty with anticipation as I assumed that this would be exactly like what I had seen on Night Court or Judge Judy time and time again. Yeah, no, Not so much. It did, however, provide me with days of people watching.
Here’s the thing about Jury Duty, it has some crazy power over people where they lose all normal ability to function as human beings (or Human Beans, as not to discriminate). We all suddenly turn into 4th graders back at Catholic school and it’s like we have to all go to the bathroom at the same. exact. time.
The dude who was “heading up” Jury Duty in “the pit” as I slyly coined it, was basically doing years and years of his standup routine. The only problem, however, was the fact that he’s literally been doing this same job for the past 29 years. You would think after 29 years he’d actual get a laugh or two. Sadly, no.
This guy was drunk with power. He may also have been drunk with alcohol. Who am I to judge? I mean, I’ll leave that up to the judge. And God. And Roz. He informs us all of the 3 simple things that we need to acknowledge right now or forever hold our peace. They are as follows:
- Are you a caregiver?
- Do you already have a vacation planned with proof of tickets?
- Are you not a US Citizen?
That’s it. Simple, right? Oh hell no. The 200 people in the room cannot possibly process what they’ve just heard. People are shouting out things like, “I’m going away for a long weekend, what do I do? and other favorites like “I have kids, now what?” However, my personal favorite was the one woman who had been sitting there for at minimum 30 minutes and suddenly puts her hand up and actually says, “Is this the Jury Duty?” Christ on a horse. She ended up not being a US Citizen so I actually have no idea how she got called. Although it’s good to know that they let anyone into this crapshoot. She might as well have tried to light her underwear on fire and blow up this airplane to nowhere.
The other kicker, for me, is how in the holy hell people dress to show up to this static nightmare. I’m not sure who I was more impressed with; “Guy with Pajama Pants,” “Man with a Leather ‘Pepsi Cola’ Jacket,” or “Lady with Rollers in her Hair.” Apparently we’re all at a slumber party right now and I’m over dressed with, you know, grown up pants and a shirt.
This room was hell on earth. It looked and smelled like the musty basement of a church. Like, if you could smell Lindsay Lohan’s spray-tanned smeared orange wrists, that’s what this place would smell like.
Then things get interesting. After 2 hours of sitting, some lady comes rushing in apologizing that she’s late. 2 hours. Really? I mean, 2 hours. No joke? She was serious with this? If you’re 2 hours late for Jury Duty you should be entering the court house shot in the chest, spewing blood, and spitting out shards or glass. It’s like, you live in the county. You could have crawled here blindfolded with a homeless man on your back giving you directions and you would have still gotten here in under 2 hours. Can this be my court case? Can I vote her guilty now or do I wait for the trial to begin?
Finally after watching a 30 minute video of Diane Sawyer from the early 90’s telling us what an honor it is to be serving Jury Duty it’s time to listen for our names to be called. Is there an electronic screen I look at to see my name or something? Oh. There isn’t? Oh, so you’re going to spin all of our names in this copper lottery-like contraption and then just yell it out. Awesome. I’m with ya. It’s like watching Lottery Live with Dawn Hayes circa 1992. This is the one time in life you don’t want your name called. But, alas, it is.
We’re forced to wait out in the hallway like cattle ready to be slaughtered. The hallway. Ah the hallway. It was like a morgue. No lie. And it smelled like skid-marks. Where the hell is my tax money going? Do I even pay taxes? I should look into that. Once in the court room we all get to meet with the judge. It is a woman, but she ain’t (ai-not) no Judge Judy. In my head I named her Judge Shecky Dorowitz. I’m not quite sure why. I mean, I have endless mental problems.
This is where they ask you, for the 10th time, if you’re a US Citizen. I wanted to shoot up my hand and shout, “I deny my US Citizenship each week when I watch Teen Mom and suffer from secondhand embarrassment on the regular…does that count?” The next question is, “Due to religious beliefs or personal reasons, do you find it impossible to judge another person?” Oh, did I mention we’re all sworn under oath at this point? Yeah. I would have used this excuse, but then I remembered this little site I own called IBBB and, well, I pretty much judge others for a living. So, yeah, there’s that. I sat back down.
Oh, and you know who else is in the court room already? The defendant. I took one look at him and was like, “Oh wow he totally looks guilty…so what did he do?” Apparently he was there for a nice round of Domestic Violence and “allegedly” beating the bag out of his girlfriend and ignoring his restraining order. I must admit, I was squealing with delight on the inside because I feel like I’m an expert on this thanks to the abusive stylings of: Amber and Gary, Ronnie and Sammie and, of course, my two favorites Ike and AnnaMae. They asked me if I would have any reason why I couldn’t take the facts of this case seriously and I almost wanted to say, “Uh, I make Ike and AnnaMae jokes at least twice a week on IBBB” but instead I just said, “No, it’s fine.” You bet…you better…you better take five AnnaMae. Eat yo’ cake AnnaMae.
At one point the defendant was looking right at me and I began to almost Shasta McNasty in my underoos. At least he didn’t know who I was, what I did for a living, or where I lived. Oh wait, he’s going to know all these things? Ah yes. Let’s get to that.
In front of the entire court you have to say, on microphone, who you are, what you do for a living, and where you live. Safe. One by one as they started to call us up at random, you would think people were getting their name called to the electric chair. People were, literally, out loud yelling “Ugggggh!” and were red faced as soon as they were called. And here’s the other thing I found interesting. About 85% of the jurors in the room all claimed they were mugged, almost all were from The Bronx, and almost all had known someone who was in jail at the present time. I was like, wow I’m a bore. I also had to bite my tongue each and every time to not yell out “THE BRONX” as a shout out to J Lo, similarly to what I do every time I pass “the 6” subway entrances.
And then people just started getting diarrhea of the mouth. No lie, all of a sudden this girl took the mic and was like, “I’m been busted for DUI and shoplifting in the past.” I was like, TMI. I don’t need to know any of this, I barely even know you. I’m all about being fake and pretending everything is completely on the up and up in front of a room full of strangers. Some other chick asked to speak with the judge and lawyers on the side and then they quickly ushered her out the side door never to be seen again. I assumed she must have been like Sally Field in “Not Without My Daughter.” What? Jury Duty is boring, you need to use your imagination.
The excuses continue and what whoppers people are coming up with. We actually have to spend about 15 minutes listening to some lady argue with Judge Shecky Dorowitz about how she has some eye condition where she can’t read if it’s bright in the room. Here’s how it went down:
Lady: “I need to tell you I have this eye condition where if it gets really bright in here I can’t read.”
Judge: Oh. Well, you just read off your sheet of questions, didn’t you?
Lady: “Yes, but it’s not bright in here right now.”
Judge: Well if it gets bright in here later we’ll put the evidence on an easel in the corner where there isn’t any light.”
Lady: “I don’t think that will work because it will be bright.”
Judge: “We can shut the blinds or take you into a dark room if you need to read something. Do you think that will be ok?”
Lady: “I’m not sure. This eye condition just came on last week and I haven’t seen my doctor yet.”
Seriously?! I wanted to yell out, “You’re out of order! I’m out of order? This who damn courtroom is out of order?!”
Finally in the end, after days and days of sitting and listening to people give every excuse possible to get out of this torturous affair, the “couple” settled out of court and a trial was no longer needed. Wait. What? You can settle that sh*t after all we’ve been through? And now this douche knows where I live? I’m as good as dead, but at least I don’t have to go back for another 6 years. Although I will miss the people watching and internal laughs. I think I need more public service in my life.