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by Darren Held

Holy cow, between the Cold That Will Not Die, jury duty and our sold-out improv show last Sunday, I am friggin’ exhausted. So it should come as no surprise to you that I will now cheat and use something from my own recent experience and tie it to improv in a clever improv for life fashion.

Here’s the thing. (That was for Darren; never mind). Jury duty would be an exercise in frustration if you didn’t just live in the moment. You have to block out a whole week during which you call in each night to see if you have to report the next day. Maybe you could go ahead and go to Vegas, maybe not. Who knows? So no Vegas for you.

Then you get called in. Swell. All the courthouses in LA county have wireless internet access, so you can bring your laptop, smartphone, reading material, whatever. They say “BE HERE BY 8:30 OR ELSE.” So you get there at 8:30. Along with the woman who works there and like 2 other dorks. At 9, they start the juror orientation, which goes until 10:10. Then they give you a break! Thirty minutes to reward you for being late and then not listening to a court woman for an hour. Then you come back and sit around. Maybe all day, maybe not. Who knows?

Oh! Then you get called into a courtroom. Maybe you’ll be picked, maybe not. Who knows? Except after only an hour, during which time they don’t get to you, it’s lunchtime. Because, you know, that hour of strenuous work tired everybody in the judicial system out. Lunch is an hour and a half, and you’ve been warned to be back ON TIME OR ELSE. Maybe you could make it home for lunch and a short nap, maybe not. Who knows? So you eat at McDonald’s and nap in the car.

You go back (on time!) and wait in the hallway outside your courtroom, as instructed. Maybe they’ll let you in, maybe not. Who knows? Forty minutes after the “on time” time, they come out and tell you the parties have reached an agreement and you are done. You get to go back to the jury room where they tell you maybe you’ll get sent to another trial, maybe not. Who knows?

Improv is like that: maybe your partner will label you, maybe not. Maybe you’re astronauts, maybe not. Maybe you’ll have a hilarious character, maybe not. Who really knows? But when you get used to being in the moment and dealing with the who knows? of improv, it carries over into real life. And you can be in the moment and go with the flow at jury duty, or wherever. Without, you know, getting all cranky like the woman who kept telling everyone, “I had jury duty once; it nearly ruined my life!”

Now where is my Vicks?

By Sonnjea Blackwell

Darren Held
About Darren Held
Darren is the CEO and Creative Director of Held2gether, Improv for LIfe. He has been teaching and performing improv for 15 years, and has performed with H2g, the Groundlings, UCB and Second City. He loves Moto, red wine, and Madonna.

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