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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.

Jury Duty


The only association I had with jury duty as a youngster was that drag of a Monopoly card that made you lose a turn or something. Clearly, whatever jury duty was, it sucked. But as an adult, I've become increasingly more interested in serving on a jury. Partly because I'm curious about the inner workings of a trial, and partly because of all the hilarious TV portrayals out there of people trying to get on or off a jury. It's such a thing, jury duty. Liz Lemon and her Princess Leia routine as an example of someone trying to get out of it, the hilarious 3rd Rock From the Sun scene where John Lithgow's alien tries so hard to be picked.

While in jury selection this week, I found myself in the John Lithgow camp. I wanted to be picked so badly. I wanted to see what the process was like, plus it seemed so utterly depressing to be sent away. Lawyers can of course "challenge" your presence on a jury and dismiss you without one word of explanation, so passing whatever criteria they had set seemed like an accomplishment. I wanted to get on the jury. I needed to get on the jury. When the judge had me introduce myself and like an idiot I went on and on about how excited I would be to serve, I was sure one of the lawyers would pitch me for being too eager. But I got to stay, and having just wrapped the 3-day trial yesterday, I have to say, I absolutely loved the experience.

Listening intently to all the witnesses and forming my own opinion, seeing the law at work, having everyone stand each time I entered or exited the courtroom, deliberating with a roomful of other Ohioans from various walks of life, the whole experience just felt so very American. I felt proud, lucky even. And someday when I'm inevitably framed for drug possession while on an exotic vacation (I've seen Brokedown Palace), I'll hope there are folks as invested in helping as I am to sit on my jury.

My only wish is that I could have justified giving more money to the plaintiff. I believe the company he was suing is indeed taking advantage of its employees, only there was not enough evidence to confirm that. As it was, even I walked away from the trial having made more money from my three days of jury service than he was awarded in damages, and it really did make me feel sad. But that's justice, I guess. And I truly do hope I get to serve again someday. I don't understand why so many people try to get out of it...unless they are holograms. (That was for you, LL.)


Out With the Old

b2ap3_thumbnail_monopoly.jpgWell, it's over. Monopoly has officially booted the Iron game piece in favor of--inexplicably--a cat. Actually, I find the entire line of choices for the proposed new game piece a bit baffling, not to mention the entire concept of consumer voting in these types of decisions. Or maybe what I'm getting at is I don't see the need for these types of decisions in the first place. What was wrong with the old pieces? Or the original M&M colors for that matter? Other than the marketing element meant to generate renewed interest in a classic product, why change at all?

I'm not averse to change, although I do think I struggle with it more than most, and a good portion of that (as I learned from this book) is probably my introversion. Another part of it is that I'm sentimental. I get attached to situations and people I like. When I quit my job to go to business school, I cried like a baby, and it wasn't because I was averse to the changes that business school would bring into my life. It's because I was sad to be leaving a job I loved and the co-workers who had become such good friends to me over the years I had worked there. And on a much smaller scale, I hate when my beloved Cleveland Cavaliers trade players in the name of some sort of overall franchise strategy. Strategy shmategy. Winning record or not, I would prefer to keep the same guys around. Because I get attached to them, dammit, and I wish it could be about playing for a city instead of playing for a championship. (You listening, LBJ?)

The interesting thing about change is that sometimes it is good. But not always. The trick for me and my stubborn, overly-sentimental self is to identify which changes are truly bad ideas (or at least unnecessary) and which ones are good ideas that I would eagerly welcome if I only knew what I was missing. Take technology. I never wanted an iPod, but once someone gave me one, I didn't know how I'd lived without it. I don't have a Smart phone, nor do I have any desire to own one, but maybe it would change my life. For the better. Or at least keep me from grocery store conundrums like buying a cinema gift card for my parents at a theater they would actually have to leave the state in order to use.

My confession to you today is that while I am old-fashioned to the core and hope to always be, there are some things that despite kicking and screaming about how uninteresting, useless, and stupid they are, customers will in actuality snap up like hotcakes once they hit the market. Translation: Sometimes you have to tell customers what they want. It's not always easy, and it doesn't always work (never forget that some changes really are bad), but even just acknowledging that changes we dread or don't want or fight are sometimes exactly what we (and the world) need is a big step. Not that this means I'm OK with the Iron getting booted. But I'll tell you who is. Clementine (pictured below) is delighted with the new game piece. I think she voted more than I did.