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Murphy’s lesser known laws

December 3, 2011

Surely you’ve had moments when Murphy’s Law invades your territory. You know the old adage - “Any thing that can go wrong, probably will.”
Surprisingly, this law was only discovered in 1949 – about the same time I made my debut on earth. I’m wondering if I was adopted by a man named Murphy, because I have all his genes.
My twist on the universal law is more like “if I can botch something up, I go out of my way to do so.”
I have been running my life according to Murphy’s Law for as long as I can remember. Here are a few new ones I’ve discovered in my attempt to master Murphy’s Law.
u The flashlight is a device for storing dead batteries. I have three and all are dead as doornails.  I found that out last night when I attempted to go out back to shut the door of the greenhouse. I had to plug a lamp into a long extension cord and carry it out into the darkness.
u The Jell-O will never set up if there is anyone but you in the house, ditto for pecan pies. I didn’t discover this until Thanksgiving Day;
u My plumbing is somehow connected to the doorbell. It never clogs up until guests arrive;
u The shinbone is a device for locating the corner of the coffee table in the dark. I found that out last night when I attempted to wander through my newly rearranged living room in the dark;  
u  When you reorganize the tool shed or the silver drawer be prepared to jumble it all up again while looking for something in the place where it used to be;
u He who laughs last thinks slowest. I guess I’m a slow thinker, but I’m a fast walker which accounts for most of my mishaps;
u If the shoe fits, get another one just like it. I discovered that my left foot is a full size larger than the right and I’ve been limping for almost a decade. I wish shoe stores would begin selling “separates” so I can walk again;
u Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value. I still have every piece of my first (and ugliest) china pattern, and only about three pieces of my Mother’s beautiful Haviland pattern; 
Someone sent me instructions on how to cope with Murphy’s law.
Step 1:  Butter a piece of toast.
Step 2: Think of two or more things that could happen if you dropped it. Are any of these more likely to happen if you are wearing suede shoes or just bought a beautiful oriental rug for your kitchen? 
Step 3: Drop the toast.
Step 4: Say “Hmm, I thought that would happen.” See? You are back in complete control.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement. She welcomes comments at

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