Murphy’s BLAWg

Elizabeth Goddard Uncategorized 2 Comments

Wednesdays are always my busiest day, so I dread them anyway. But today, I had planned to print my Genesis proposal so that it has a chance to be delivered by the deadline. Of course, all writers know that when you must print something, Murphy’s Law kicks in. I’m sure you’re heard of that, right? A slice of buttered bread, when dropped, will always land butter-side down. When you need an item that is in a heap, it will always be the one at the bottom. (for me it’s the dryer)_Sound familiar?

I did some planning ahead and actually bought the good paper just in case the kids had used my supply up on art projects.

I woke up this morning, considering what it would be today. Would the print cartridge run out of ink in the middle of printing? Or would the printer jam beyond repare? It was something entirely different. The printer was not aligned well so the letters came out fuzzy instead of crisp and clear. My husband offered to print it off his laptop (I’m on a Mac) so I emailed my proposal to him. He printed it all right. The formatting was all wrong, plus all of my review comments were included. LOL. I won’t go on, but you get the picture.

In the meantime, my family had to endure as I succumed to Murphy’s Law. This topic led me to research on the subject and I find it quite interesting. I’ve included on variation of the origins of this “law.”

Murphy’s Law (“If anything can go wrong, it will”) was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base.

It was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, (a project) designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash.

One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible and said, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.”

The contractor’s project manager kept a list of “laws” and added this one, which he called Murphy’s Law.

Actually, what he did was take an old law that had been around for years in a more basic form and give it a name.

Shortly afterwards, the Air Force doctor (Dr. John Paul Stapp) who rode a sled on the deceleration track to a stop, pulling 40 Gs, gave a press conference. He said that their good safety record on the project was due to a firm belief in Murphy’s Law and in the necessity to try and circumvent it.
Aerospace manufacturers picked it up and used it widely in their ads during the next few months, and soon it was being quoted in many news and magazine articles. Murphy’s Law was born.

The Northrop project manager, George E. Nichols, had a few laws of his own. Nichols’ Fourth Law says, “Avoid any action with an unacceptable outcome.”

The doctor, well-known Col. John P. Stapp, had a paradox: Stapp’s Ironical Paradox, which says, “The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle.”

Nichols is still around. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, he’s the quality control manager for the Viking project to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars.

Apparently I am free from sin and death, but haven’t made my way clear of Murphy’s law.


Comments 2

  1. Anonymous

    Wow! You’ll never guess what… I actually read this one!! XP!! I never read your thing but I decided I would… so yay for you!!

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