I learned recently (while serving jury duty, in fact) that many people don’t bother voting, or even registering to vote, because they don’t want to get called for jury duty. While jury duty can be a hassle and an outright impossible burden for some people, it seems an odd motivation for not exercising your right to vote. Besides that, it’s an outdated myth. So here’s a list of other things that take more time and are even more inconvenient (yet much more common) than jury duty.
I’ve been voting for over twenty-five years (I’m rounding down to twenty for easier math, not to hide my age). In those “twenty” years, I’ve been called for jury duty twice, and have only served once (was summoned in St. Louis for the very week that I was moving out of state). That’s really not a lot of time out of my life. Let’s say I served both times I called, for three days apiece. That would be three days every ten years. At a commitment of eight hours a day (which includes two hours off for lunch), we’re talking a whopping twenty-four hours over the course of a decade, and that’s if I count both times that I was called to serve. In reality, I spent twenty-four hours over almost thirty years in jury duty, but let’s stick with the original 24 hours every 10 years figure.
Time for a little math. Dividing that ratio down further (divide by 10), that’s 2.4 hours every year. Then, divide by 12 to get .2 hours every month. .2 hours? That’s 12 minutes a month. Divided by thirty days, we’re talking about .4 minutes a day (24 seconds).
So, if you feel like you don’t have time to serve on jury duty, think again. To put it into context, here are a few tasks that take more than 24 seconds a day:
- Playing a round of ToonBlast
- Pulling into a parking spot
- Reading a page of a book
- Wishing folks Happy Birthday on Facebook
- Thinking about getting up and having a dark chocolate pretzel from the cupboard
- Editing a text message to correct the auto-correct
- Deciding toppings on my Subway sandwich or my Chipotle burrito
- Deciding what to wear in the morning
- Deciding which cereal to eat for breakfast
- Walking to the cupboard for the dark chocolate pretzel bag, then putting it back inside
- Deleting mass emails
- Pondering whether I really need to buy that Bluetooth Death Star speaker on Amazon
- Choosing what card to play in a round of Fluxx
- Getting the pretzels from the cupboard, eating three, closing the bag, and returning it to the cupboard
- Figuring out what to watch on Netflix
- Watching Netflix
- Watching dodo videos
- Returning to the cupboard for more chocolate pretzels
- Avoiding emptying the dishwasher
- Avoiding cooking
- Staring out the window
- Checking email
- Brushing my teeth
- Watching previews at a movie (definitely takes more than 12 minutes in a month)
- Avoiding exercising (to be fair, I spend more time exercising)
- Falling asleep
I’ll let you come up with your own list of just how many chunks of twelve minutes a month you waste, how you have 2.4 hours a year to spare, and how, beyond that, you likely have the equivalent of three days every ten years that you could spare to help keep the democratic process running by applying your finely honed critical thinking skills toward determining someone’s guilt or innocence. All for the privilege of casting your vote to help shape this democracy. So if you want to justify not voting, it’s time to find another excuse.