Here I could give a quick little overview of the American judicial system and the need for selection a jury from the general public. The problem is, I'd end up getting a little too cute here and allude to legal history in other nations as well. Unfortunately, this would show that while I'd like everyone to think I'm a well-read gentleman of international disposition, I'm actually pretty confused about some of the basic tenets and history of common law. So I'd be a bit out of my depth there. I'd also try to sneak in a connection between being called for jury duty and being forcibly enlisted in my nation's armed forces, but that's just because I'm an asshole.
So I go in there, and I find out, wow, the guys in charge of our criminal justice system actually take their jobs seriously. Who knew? And so it becomes clear that they wouldn't accept my bullshit excuse, because there were people in there with me with real problems, like some woman who had chemo, and they weren't getting out of it.
Hey, who am I kidding? The woman undergoing chemo has real problems, compared to me? Hell no! I am an important programmer, and if I go off the grid then the entire US catfish distribution system could go offline for weeks. And since we all know the Air Traffic Control systems in every airport within 150 miles of the Gulf of Mexico are critically dependent on components currently being used in those same catfish systems, if I get sequestered, people could die. Also, the reason I know I'm really the critical guy to work on these systems, and I'm not just being fed some ego-assuaging line from my middle management, is that I get paid an hourly wage, and we all know that only the most important people who are only expected to work 40 hours a week get paid an hourly wage. Because if you only work those 40, it's because you're working an efficient 40. So, you're on chemo, you bitch, and you might die in the next couple of weeks, and you think that's important? People's lives depend on my programming skills and my ability to do the impossible. My coding prowess, as horrible and grotesque as it may seem to you, saves lives.
So I'm jonesing, man, I need some way to get out of this thing... I'm all jammed up. Of course, it's not because I don't want to sit in some boring shit for three weeks, and it has nothing to with lost wages (again, it's those all-important unsalaried workers who don't count, we have to worry about punching a clock and filling out timesheets because our time is that valuable). I'm only being completely selfless and giving, because people's lives depend on my programming. So I asked around about getting out of this thing. Everyone I knew told me, "Just pretend that you think he's guilty based on his ethnic background or something," but I don't have anywhere near the balls to sit in open court and stick with a story such as that. Moreover, I don't have the balls to stand up to these people and say what I want. And although I'm going to bleat below about how the state's compelling me to serve on a jury is a violation of the social contract, and how I'm going to declare war against the state because of this, I don't nearly have the balls to actually stand up for my beliefs and risk any consequences. I'm just going to keep this declaration between us and not actually air it in front of officers of the court, because they might actually do something to my sacred personage!
I mean, this is one of the fundamental systems of our society, one on whose bedrock our very notions of law and order and the fair practicing of such lie, and the people who run it have the balls to say that I should take it as seriously as they do??! I AM A PROGRAMMER. I don't need to follow your "rules", man.
So basically I needed a way to weasel out of it. Leave it for the unimportant people, the doctors and policemen and the bitches on chemo.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCESS
Here I'm going to describe how the thing played out. I could go two ways with this: I could pump out about 500-700 words and tell you about every single detail, but since probably everyone reading this has actually been to jury duty, I could also just summarize and say, "Yeah, it was just like that, except slightly more of a shitshow because it was a capital crime. And if you haven't been, it's pretty much what you'd expect, but even more boring." As boring, in fact, as reading that 700-word précis could have been.
Well, you know I wanted to weasel out of this duty. I don't have the balls to actually stand up for my beliefs when something is on the line, and I'm way too IMPORTANT a person to spend time in shitty public service, so I need a "strategy".
Again, I could go two ways on this. I could spend 1000 words laying out every possible philosophical position which would disqualify me for service, and then bang on about each in turn, making sure to explicate even the most obvious detail. Or, I could summarize the whole thing rather quickly. Since I'm too busy to write it, and you're too busy to read it, let's go with the summary.
So, basically, you're trying to convince these guys that you're a fucking moron who has never watched a court show or even a TV show in which a court was shown. And it goes like this: to show you're not impartial, you either have to be predisposed for the prosecution or the defense. That's two positions. And there's basically three reasons you're like that, either it a] involves the death penalty, b] involves your predisposition to think people guilty or not, or c] it reflects some greater social phenomenon (e.g. racism). That's three justifications. So, you can take one of two positions, plus one of three justifications, and that gives you six possibilities. Since we're all adults here, and I don't love to hear the sound of my own typing, I'll let you guys work out the details from there.
But of course none of these will work, so I can't pick them! I need to come up with something completely different, and come up with a philosophical position so creative and revolutionary that it will be wholly different than anything they have ever seen before. And thus I came up with..... option "against, A."
Yeah, that's right. I told the court that I'm philosophically disposed against the death penalty, think it's wrong, and said I could never apply it. Where's the cleverness? Here's what I did: I couched this basic philosophical position in the language and analogy of engineering. I'm sure this was the first time in human history that anyone has ever expressed such a complex and insightful philosophical position using concrete examples from daily life, and I really threw them for a loop. They simply didn't know how to respond to my rending of their sad, sad worldview. I took their Weltanshauung, tore it into pieces, and flung it back into their miserable, bourgeois faces.
And then (here's the best part) when they clearly wanted to know how I had generated such a novel and insightful glimpse into the complex workings of the social contract, I explained to them that I formed this opinion arguing with people on the Internet. This alleviated any doubts as to the soundness of my position, and these public servants had nothing to say to me. They were floored.
So, how about that, I didn't get picked. And they way I figure it is, they picked 500 people to seat a jury of 12. Let's say we throw three alternates in there, and there's an a priori 3% chance that these jackbooted thugs could constrain a noble programmer to serve in their pointless system and risk having people die because I wasn't there to write the code that would save their lives. And thus I think it's safe to interpret the fact that I didn't get picked as a clear and unequivocal piece of evidence that my incisive trompe l'oeil was enough to get me off that miserable piece of service to my fellow man.
I hope they clipped that bitch with the chemo, though. She was a total cunt at lunch.