In a previous post, I covered the history and origins of Shotgun. Now on to rules and etiquette.
Simply stated, to lay claim to the Shotgun position, one must say the word "Shotgun" within audible range of at least one witness. Shotgun must be called outdoors - never inside. Anyone who calls Shotgun indoors is automatically voided from recieving Shotgun priviliges.
However, before Shotgun can be called, it is of utmost import that all eligible parties understand, accept and apply the concept of "the deed." The deed, according to the Official Shotgun Rules, "is any activity or objective that directly precedes the ride in the automobile." The deed is a localized rule, created and governed by region or circuit. In my local circuit, the deed - that is, the prerequisite one must fulfill before calling Shotgun - is that one's body must be at least ten (10) steps outside the nearest building entrance or exit. The importance of recognizing, respecting, and adhering to the deed cannot be overstressed as it establishes guidelines for a Shotgun-calling timeframe and thus ensures that everyone has an equal chance of calling Shotgun. To disregard the deed - in our case, the ten (10) step rule - is a clear breach of Shotgun etiquette and a direct infraction of Shotgun rules.
In my circle of friends and local Shotgutgun circuit, there is one particular individual who tends to be a little shaky on the rules and etiquette of Shotgun-calling. He's the guy that "jumps the gun," if you will indulge my pun, when calling Shotgun. You know the type... Kinda jumpy. Nervous, weasel-like eyes always flitting, flitting. Twitches alot. Just a little too anxious about reserving that coveted spot. Little do most folks know, there is an official term for these types of unruly blokes - they're called Shotgun Gapers. Gapers (pronounced gay-pers), according to the official handbook, "are people who prioritize Shotgun much more than a normal human being. These people will alter their usual behavior and even undermine their own ethics in order to gain the rights to Shotgun." Although the advantage to being a Gaper is a frequent Shotgun ride (as long as the rules and etiquette are not being abused), being a Gaper is severely frowned upon. Unclean they are. Smell like cabbage.
So there you have it - a basic overview of the rules. I'll gladly take any questions or clear up any confusion you may have regarding the rules and etiquette of Shotgun.
Oh - and Mr. EPGaper9000 - just so you know, throwing one's t-shirt in anger and frustration at your own failure to correctly call Shotgun is considered blatant disregard for Shotgun protocol. Demerits abound.