How to get out of jury duty
(That's what you get for voting)
"State your name and jury number please."
"Ahhh... Mike Jasper. And I'm not sure
what my jury number is. I heard 190-something, but I was thinking it
was 162. I'm not real sure."
I had just hit a home run, a towering Mark
McGwire shot in the upper decks. The judge, the bailiff and the lawyers
all looked at me with the same collective thought: This fucker's too
stupid to be on the jury. And he might be high.
"Why you vant to get out of jury duty
for?" my comedian friend Mary C. asked me the next day. "You no vant to
be part of process of great system of justice in great country of
Hmmm. I hadn't thought about it that way
before. But it's true: I don't want to be part of the process of the
great system of justice in this great country of America.
Why? Because I don't believe in the
judicial system. Let me clarify: I believe it exists. I also believe it
provides the best justice money can buy. But I don't believe 12 people
selected randomly from a segment of the population too stupid to get
out of jury duty can be expected to wade through incantations of legal
voodoo and render the right decision.
With the exception of the OJ trial, of
course. He was clearly innocent.
But I digress. I promised to tell you how
to get out of jury duty and I plan to deliver on that promise:
How To Get Out of Jury Duty
1) Dress for success.
While few courts require you to wear a
suit, most expressly forbid shorts or cut-offs, tee-shirts, tank tops
or other so-called muscle shirts. Jeans are okay, provided they aren't
torn or patched. Penny loafers rock.
In other words, it's the exact same dress
code required by the Yellow Rose, a local Austin titty bar. Truth is,
you can easily meet the court's dress code requirements and still
create a repulsive image. All it takes is a little imagination.
On my appointed court date, I decided to
go as a 70s rock star. (Note: Whenever possible, draw from your own
experience.) I wore black slacks and black cowboy boots, a teal silk
shirt unbuttoned one more button than good breeding would normally
dictate, and the piece de resistance -- a full-length black trench coat.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find my old
shark-tooth necklace, which would have been the perfect accessory. My
hair wasn't as long as I would have liked either, but I managed to
spike it up pretty convincingly with a blow dryer. The beard played to
type and the shades -- although not allowed in the courtroom -- added
penache to my entrances and exits.
2) Choose your smell and stick to it.
There is nothing in the dress code about
personal hygiene, likely because the courts don't want to consider the
I prefer the persistent smell of cigarette
smoke, but then I'm a cigarette smoker (Again: Draw from your own
experience). Every time I left the building for a cigarette break, I
forced myself to smoke two butts: one for me, one for my clothes. Not
only did this help me get out of jury duty, it assured me more elbow
room in court.
You might prefer another scent, perhaps a
natural one. If so, don't take a shower for several days before your
appointed court date. Not only will you get out of jury duty, you might
be excused early. Others may choose to employ a noxious aftershave or
perfume. If so, I suggest you splash it on thick before leaving the
house and carry around a bottle in your pocket for convenient booster
This I guarantee: no one will ever
question you about your smell. No one would dare take that kind of
initiative. As a rule, all workplace decisions are made by committee.
Short straw loses.
3) No matter what your occupation, fit
the words "newspaper reporter" somewhere in your jury form.
All courts require potential jurors to
fill out a form. If you're a full-time parent, a felon or certifiably
insane, you'll be able to check the appropriate box and get out of jury
duty without having to attend so much as a single day in court. Why?
Because if you're a full-time parent, a felon or certifiably insane,
you're much more likely to smell (I'm telling you, they just hate that).
Assuming you're not one of the above, find
the place on the form where you're asked to name your occupation. In
that space, write the following: "I am currently a (Your Occupation),
but I plan to become a NEWSPAPER REPORTER in the very near future."
Here's the deal: When you're on a jury,
you are not allowed to discuss the case outside the courtroom. But once
the jury's released, you can write for daylight. You can be colorful
and describe how the defense lawyer spilled coffee on his trousers just
minutes before his summation.
Officers of the court know what reporters
do. And they hate what reporters do.
I hope anyone trying to get out of jury
duty will consider my advice, for I can absolutely guarantee with Joe
Namath-like certainty that my little three-point system will work every
time. Unless, of course, you live in the state of California, in which
case you're fucked, since the Golden State has recently passed laws
against smelling, changing jobs, shark-tooth necklaces, smoking,
aftershave use, the wearing of trench coats, and the writing of web
pages offering advice on how to get out of jury duty.
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STANDARD DISCLAIMER: This column aims to be funny. If
you can read anything else into it, you're on your own.