*Photo by Justin Patterson
Or how people are overly honest, to their own detriment
Recently, I was called in for jury duty. Let me say right away, I have no problem with completing my civic duty. In fact, I think that people who serve in this way are actively doing something to support and sustain the best parts of our democracy. It’s part of what makes this country what it is. The system is surely imperfect, and there are some major flaws that I hope to see fixed in my lifetime. However I believe that by serving on juries, we can influence the application of the laws of the nation, and promote social justice.
Ok. Getting off the soapbox now.
In all reality, I don’t always have time to live out my ideal civic contribution. However, there is wisdom to be gleaned from all situations, so let me share what I witnessed with you! Recently, I was called in to do jury duty. I also had a transatlantic trip planned for two weeks from then. So we the chosen filed into the room with all the attorneys, and they begin the pre-screen. It actually sounds like an important and interesting case regarding corporate responsibility. Sadly, they are hearing opening statements two days after I’m leaving the country. Like hell I’m changing my tickets! They call up the folks that can’t commit to those particular six to eight weeks of their life (who can?) knowing that they will have to be dismissed, and of course… people start revealing too much. “My wife is taking a trip and I have to watch the kids”. “I haven’t bought my ticket yet but it’s my birthday trip to Cuba.” Info like that, nobody needs to know. All I can do is shake my head.
Alright. Words from Bette's mom: (My mom has a great anecdote from her army service) Mom was in boot camp. She and the rest of her troop were supposed to go on a hike through the desert. Some genius decided to ask if they needed to bring their bedding as well as their backpacks…to which the drill sergeant replied “Now you do...because you asked.” Unnecessary stupid questions. Don’t ask them, it can only get you into trouble, or get you more work.
Just like the newly minted Baby Bette who just graduated last spring from University of the Middle of Nowhere BFA in Theatre with a minor in Anthropology who just got to town yesterday and is asking all kinds of questions to the Equity monitor who is busy trying to wrangle three hundred showgirls, or the casting director, just STOP. Take a lovely trip to the AEA website and/or the Facebook hive mind, or Audition Update Bitching Post (and write Not A Bitch) and ask your question. Or better yet, seek out someone who seems like they've done this a couple times and ask them. (Mentors are the best!) No one will penalize you. You don’t need to expose yourself as the turnip that fell off the truck yesterday, to people who want to hire someone who they can trust to do a job. Sometimes, you just have to keep your mouth SHUT!
If you can’t be somewhere, just say so. The folks at the courthouse who asked those specific questions got caught in the web of rules and had to stay longer than the rest of us. I really hope the lady going on her birthday trip to Cuba, and the guy who has to watch his kids gets to do what they need to do! I also hope that you dear Bette, only give out the information you need to when you’re in this kind of situation. Don’t explain, and don’t complain! Then no one can stop you.
Bulletproof Bette shares her wisdom in the first ever Showgirl’s Guide to surviving and thriving in a city and industry that wants to eat you for lunch. Get exclusive content when you sign up below!