Add this to the list of things you didn't know you needed in your life: videos of Barack Obama at jury duty. The former president showed up to jury duty in Chicago on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 8, looking fine and cracking jokes. Jury duty has never looked so good.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the former president showed up to the courthouse around 10 a.m. and took a private elevator usually reserved for judges up to the jury assembly room, where he was one of 168 people reporting for jury duty.
He reportedly interacted with onlookers and fans, even signing books and making jokes, until he was ultimately dismissed from duty around noon.
And, god, am I jealous. Doing your civic duty usually includes taking a thick book to the courthouse and praying you're dismissed after a few hours. But 168 lucky people — to say nothing of the large media scrum awaiting the 44th president — got the deluxe package, apparently.
And why was the former Commander in Chief in Chicago for jury duty, anyways? Although Obama lives in D.C. with wife Michelle and youngest daughter Sasha, he maintains a home in Chicago, where he is registered to vote, according to CBS News. Now that he is a totally, 100 percent normal citizen just like us, he, too, has to serve on jury duty once in a while.
Obama was seen leaving his Chicago residence around 9 a.m. CT, looking smooth as hell in a button-down sans tie, jacket, and shades, coffee cup in hand.
He looked way too cool for someone who is constantly followed by press and swarmed by fans, which was reportedly a concern for the courthouse and Secret Service in planning his jury duty appearance.
According to CNN, Chief Judge Tim Evans, who presides in Cook County, held a news conference addressing Obama's appearance, because it was that exciting. Evans said that people were largely respectful, but Obama quickly set the tone, greeting everyone in turn. Evans said,
He came in and greeted the prospective jurors on both side of the panels. [...] He discovered that some knew they might have a chance to meet him and they brought books for him to sign. I saw him pause for a moment and I thought his Secret Service panel may not permit him to do that, but he said that he wanted to sign their books and he did sign.
Watching Obama, gregarious and optimistic as always, at jury duty feels like taking a victory lap after last night's many electoral gains for Democrats.
But don't just take my word for it. Check out the videos yourself.
Ever the statesman, he made sure to shake everyone's hands.
"Thanks everybody for serving on the jury, or at least being willing to," he joked. Kind of like when my dad would make me rake the yard on a Saturday and then thank me for volunteering. Yes, you're welcome for showing up for this compulsory summons, Obama, I love you.
And anyways, I can forgive the former president for making a cheesy joke, because if there's one thing Obama loves — aside from Michelle, that is — it's dad jokes. He may be the king of the dad jokes, like all of the puns and jokes he made at the Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning in 2015.
"For months there has been a fierce competition between a bunch of turkeys trying to win their way into the White House," he said in 2015, referring to that year's heavily populated GOP primary.
The same mischievous glint in his eyes showed up in the Chicago courthouse today.
He even joked around with one man who brought a book to sign.
"I can't sign autographs, but, when the guy bought my book, I gotta," he said.
But he also clearly took his duty seriously, despite the frenzy it caused.
He took the time to thank everyone.
"Thanks for your service," he said to potential jurors. "You guys are a core part of the justice system."
I'm getting all verklempt just watching these videos, so I can't possibly imagine what it was like to show up for a long day of waiting and end up meeting the man who awakened me... civically.