Murphy strikes again

Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

We all know Murphy’s Law, but did you realize there really was a documented “Murphy?” His name was invoked by the development engineer overseeing repairs to a malfunctioning strap transducer at Wright Field Aircraft Lab at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1949.

Captain Ed Murphy was quoted by George Nichols, used it in a press conference, and it went viral within a few months. Researchers have claimed attribution for this story, some very persuasive, but this is the first I’ve seen that appears “so spot on.”
The law? “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

Among the numerous corollaries: “Smile. Tomorrow will be worse;” and my personal favorite, “If it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.”
Ehrman’s Commentary: “1. Things will get worse before they get better.” And 2. “Who said things would get better?”
“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
When I discovered a wellspring of Laws, I vowed to myself that I would not get sidetracked by other publications or Websites because I’d find myself, well, sidetracked.

So I’ve gathered up a mixed bag to share with you, in random order that can suffer randomness unharmed. There are many, many more, some too complicated to allow for a casual read.
Keep these around. The simplest are the shortest and usually the cleverest. The long wordy ones don’t make the cut.

But before I turn you loose to fend for yourself, let me tell you that I have often used one on my own observation. I can’t find it right now, but I assure you, it was credited to someone whose name was not mine.
In planning landscaping and concrete paths among new buildings (like those at my alma mater, Gettysburg College), landscape engineers did not immediately pave paths. When he finally did, he placed them on footpaths already worn on the lawn by students in a hurry to get from one building to another. That’s how the students and their bikes were going to go anyway, might as well follow their tangents.
So. These are mostly from the Internet. Search on Murphy’s Law and the rest will fall in place. They come in interesting batches, only a few of which I even opened. There are hundreds.

“Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.” And “When things just can’t get any worse, they will.”
“If you can understand it, you probably don’t.”
“We do not see things as they are, but as we are.” (A Chinese proverb.)
Time for lunch. How about “Cole’s Law: thinly sliced cabbage.”

Computer expertise: “Law of Anti-security: The best way past a pesky security feature is a 13-year-old.”
“No matter how fantastic your latest and greatest PC is, you will be able to buy it for half the price in 12 months.”

For cops: “Tear gas works on cops too, and regardless of wind direction, will always blow back in your face.”
“If you have `cleared’ all the rooms and met no resistance, you and your entry team have probably kicked in the door of the wrong house.”
“Flash suppressors don’t really.”
“A Smith and Wesson beats four aces.”
“Dogs do not see the badge as a person of authority. They see lunch.”
“Bulletproof vests aren’t.”

For paramedics’ eyes only: “The more equipment you see on an EMT’s belt, the newer they are.”
“Examine all chest clutchers first, bleeders next, then the rest of the whiners.”
“All bleeding stops... eventually.”
“EMS is extended periods of boredom, interrupted by moments of sheer terror.”
“As long as stupidity remains epidemic in the U.S., you have job security.”

Corollary 1: “Very heavy patients tend to gravitate toward locations which are furthest from mean sea level.”
Corollary 2: “If the patient is heavy, the elevator is broken, and the lights in the stairwell are out.”

And this, based on real events. Just ask any EMT. “A life-or-death situation will immediately be created by driving away from the home of patient who has just thrown you out of their house. The seriousness of this situation will increase as the date of your trial approaches. By the time your ex-patient reaches the witness stand, the jury will wonder how patient in such terrible condition could have possibly walked to the door and greeted you with a large suitcase in each hand.”

Remember, “Friends came and go, but enemies accumulate.”
[Sallie Satterthwaite of Peachtree City has been writing for The Citizen since our first issue Feb. 10, 1993. Before that she had served as a city councilwoman and as a volunteer emergency medical technician. She is the only columnist we know who has a fire station named for her. Her email is SallieS@Juno.com.]

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