Calling “Shotgun”: The Official Rules

The amazing brain trust, that IS the creative and intellectual backbone of Laurie Industries:


has decided that it’s time put to rest all the infighting that’s often involved in the process of selecting passenger placement in a motorized vehicle.

What are the rules, you ask?

I didn’t know there were any until my sister sent me the original form in an e-mail, but we of course, took the rules as they’ve become known in in-boxes around the country and added what we thought were vital components left out of the mass e-mail.

I don’t know who took the time to sit down initially and concoct them, but I suppose our appreciation should be bestowed upon them for their effort.ย  They are listed below and strictly apply to the calling of “shotgun” (the front passenger seat) of an automobile. These rules as we manipulated them, are definitive and binding and are not open for negotiation or any semblance of arbitration.

Section I
The Basics

1. In order to call “shotgun”, the caller must pronounce the word “shotgun” in a clear voice and ONLY in English. This is based on the universality of the English language as spoken by Air Traffic Controllers across the globe. “Shotgun” MUST be heard and acknowledged by the driver. The other occupants of the vehicle need not hear the call as long as the driver verifies the call.

2. “Shotgun” may only be called if all occupants of the vehicle are outside and on the way to said vehicle. Usually within a 20-22 foot distance of automobile. Calling “shotgun” farther away than that warrants automatic nullification of shotgun call-age.

3. Early calls are strictly prohibited. “Shotgun” may only be called while walking toward the vehicle and only applies to the drive immediately forthcoming. “Shotgun” can never be called while inside a vehicle or still technically on the way to the first location. For example, one can not get out of a vehicle and call “shotgun” for the return journey. That warrants automatic and humiliating back seat placement on the return trip.

4. The driver has final say in all ties and disputes. The driver has the right to suspend or remove all “shotgun” privileges from one or more persons.


Section II
Cases of Special Exceptions/Dispensation

These special exceptions to the rules above should be considered in the order presented; the case listed first will take precedence over any of the cases beneath it, when applicable.

1. In the instance that the normal driver of a vehicle is drunk or otherwise unable to perform their duties as driver, then he/she is automatically given “shotgun”.

2. In the instance that the person who actually owns the vehicle is not driving, then he/she is given right of first refusal. He or she will be automatically given “shotgun”, unless he or she declines.

3. In the instance the the driver’s spouse, lover, business partner or date for the evening is going to accompany the group, he/she is automatically given “shotgun”, unless he or she declines.

4. In the instance that one of the passengers may become so ill during the course of the journey that the other occupants feel he/she will throw up and then perhaps start a chain reaction of sympathy regurge, then the ill person should be given “shotgun” to make appropriate use of the window.

NOTE: If this is the case, please ensure that the backseat right side window is sufficiently closed.

5. In the instance that only one person knows how to get to a given location and this person is not the driver, then as the designated navigator for the group they automatically get s”shotgun”, unless he or she declines. It is strictly forbidden for ANY occupant in the backseat, to lean forward to position his or herself in between driver and passenger to say, “Turn left here. No here. I SAID HERE, you big dumbass”. A backseat passenger is never allowed to violate front seat air space. There is a relevant sociological reason why he or she is riding in the backseat in the first place. If he or she violates airspace, this grounds for automatic ejection… a bad neighborhood.

6. In the instance that one of the occupants is too wide or tall to fit comfortably in the back seat, then the driver may show mercy and award “shotgun” to the corpulent misfit. Alternatively, the driver and other passengers may continually taunt the poor fellow who lost his/her chance to “shotgun” by being normal in size, for the entire duration of the long, three hour trip with him/her crammed in the back, contorted like a common pretzel with a thrombosis the size of a fist moving up the thigh toward his or her heart.

Section III
The Survival of the Fittest Rule

1. If the driver so wishes, he/she may institute the Survival of the Fittest Rule on the process of calling “shotgun”. In this case all rules, excepti 1-4, are suspended and the passenger seat is occupied by whoever can take it by force. Farting and biting are not permitted.

2. The driver must announce the institution of the Survival of the Fittest Rule with reasonable warning to all passengers. This clause reduces the amount of blood lost by passengers and the damage done to the vehicle.

If there are any arguments or exceptions not covered in these rules, please refer to rule I-4.

If this presents an issue, you have the following options:

A) You could just shut hell up you big girl and ride in the backseat like the little bitch you are!!

B) Walk

C) Hail an expensive cab or taxi

D) Take public transportation. The crazed schizophrenic who talks to gum on the sidewalk will be your seat mate for the next 23 miles. He takes a black marker with the end chewed to resemble the end of an exploding cigar and he’s connecting moles and freckles together on your arm and saying something under his breath about Cassiopeia. You’re too scared to say anything. His B.O. is so heinous, you can taste it when you inhale.

E) Combine B and D and demand that the bus stops a full eight blocks from your destination. You’ll walk the rest of the way. You can’t take it anymore. The vagrant’s stench melted the hairs in your nose and has forced you to hear this insane continuous loop of Wilco, Andy Gibb and 60’s pop songstress, LuLu playing in your head.

You hallucinate that you’re Dick Clark’s bed pan.


  1. Wow Laurie,
    I think you covered it all. The bus scenario was a little too scary to be funny though – I think I’ve met that guy.

  2. I may need you in some “last piece of pizza” litigation I’m involved in.

  3. Finally, the rules are out there ๐Ÿ™‚
    I like to tell the customers at the restaurant that the rules of shot gun apply to calling who is going to pay the bill. It at the very least gets middle aged men to smile.

  4. I was with you all the way up until the “no biting” restriction…come on woman, what good are these fangs if I can’t use them????!!!!

    Or alternatively….may I eye-gauge???


  5. I knew there had to be definitive rules somewhere. Now to print them out and staple them to a certain someone’s forehead. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. When our four kids were born there were two born in even years and two in odd years. So “shotgun” for them was the even years have it for a week and then the odd years have it. Then it was up to the two of them that week to see who got to sit up front. Sounds complicated but it worked and no fighting.


  7. you have managed to create one of the most vividly repulsive imageries i have heard: “Dick Clarke’s bedpan” ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. WTF IS THIS? The last time I checked, there is no rules to calling the shotgun! It’s just what people do! And survival of the fittest? OMG! YOU ARE TOTALLY EXAGERRATING THIS! LOSS OF BLOOD?! ROFWLOLALMAO!

And now, you may opine your ass off...

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