Monday, October 6, 2008

Wanted: Registered Voters

Wanted: Registered voters to participate in elaborate psychological experiment.

Explanation: Phase I of the experiment will require participants to meet a series of rigid timelines under threat of harsh penalty, only to then have to wait cumulatively for several hours before anything of consequence happens. Interspersed between these waiting periods, participants will be assembled in the main laboratory where a subset of 14 will be "selected" for participation in an even more elaborate experiment. These select few will be elevated into a special box for all others to see. All participants in Phase I will receive $5 per day for their services.

The select 14 will then enter Phase II, where they will be regailed by the chief experimentor as heroes of democracy while simultaneously being subjected to even longer waiting periods between segments of the experiment. During such periods, participants will be herded into a small windowless holding pen with arbitrary climate control. During the non-waiting segments of the experiment, participants will enjoy an elaborate tale of true crime as presented by one orator, while another simultaneously professes an equally riveting, nearly identical tale of an innocent person in the wrong place at the wrong time. During particularly enthrawling moments of this presentation, participants will abruptly be shepherded back to their pen in an effort to convince them that they are missing the most important parts. Orators will often huddle with the chief experimentor, muttering clearly important things just out of earshot of the participants. To further infuriate participants, even though the only thing any of them have in common is their participation in this experiment, they will not under any circumstances be allowed to discuss the experiment. This requirement is essential. While Phase II participants are waiting in the holding pen, the chief experimentor will occasionally call out individual participants, ask them bizarre questions, and then tell them to return without discussing their conversation with the other participants, thus undermining the dynamic within the isolated group. Participants in Phase II wil be remitted $40 per day.

When the elaborate tale of true crime concludes, Phase III of the experiment commences. 12 of the 14 participants will be allowed to return voluntarily to their holding pen to finally discuss the experiment with each other. 2 participants, however, will be randomly selected to move to another, smaller, windowless holding pen also equipped with arbitrary climate control. These 2 participants will STILL not be allowed to discuss the experiment with each other, even though they know the other 12 are happily discussing it. Occasionally the chief experimentor will assemble all 14 participants in the main laboratory to answer questions from the 12, just to further remind the unfortunate 2 that they are still not talking about the experiment. All participants in Phase III will be payed $40 per day, regardless of whether they are part of the lucky 12 or the unfortunate 2.

Explanation, Part II: No court today, deliberations resume on Tuesday.

I have been selected as an alternate juror. Correction: I have been selected as the SECOND alternate juror. So, after spending six days listening to the entire court case and I am now required to sit with the first alternate juror in a small room while our 12 cohorts deliberate elsewhere. I am required to be in court, in spite of the fact that I am not actually participating in anything, nor is there even a remote chance that I will ever get the opportunity to participate in anything. On the bright side, I can bring my laptop and do work. As you can tell, I am thrilled about this.

1 comment:

Willie Y said...

I was on jury duty once and the judge, as they alway do, said Don't discuss this case with the other jurors while on lunch break. But that's all we did, I mean they did, at lunch, talk about the case. Not me of course, just the other people.