Sunday, May 17, 2009

Murphy's Law

Yesterday it was a beautiful warm, sunny day so I decided to do some work in my garden. I am making a raised flower bed, so dug a trench ready to lay some walling stone. Tony and Robert put the gazebo up, but had no ties to secure it in place properly ; we'd get those later in the week. And I temporarily moved my hanging basket/bird feeder stand to a different part of the garden while working.

This morning I awoke to heavy winds and rain. The gazebo is blowing around like a, well, like an unsecured gazebo. I fully expect to have to recover it from my neighbors' yard tomorrow. My wall trench is filling up nicely with rainwater, and my hanging baskets stand has toppled over scattering the contents of the birdfeeder all over the patio. At least the birds are happy...

This is known as Murphy's law; If anything can go wrong, it will. In the UK it was known from earliest times as Sod's Law because it would happen to any poor sod who needed such a catastrophic event the least.

Here's a couple of add-ons to Murphy's/Sod's law, taken from

O'TOOLE'S COMMENTARY ON MURPHY'S LAW. Murphy was an optimist.
THE FIRST COROLLARY TO SOD'S LAW. Anything that is to go wrong will do so at the worst possible moment.
THE UNSPEAKABLE LAW. As soon as you mention something, if it's good, it goes away; if it's bad, it happens.
NON-RECIPROCAL LAWS OF EXPECTATIONS. Negative expectations yield negative results. Positive expectations yield negative results.
HOWE'S LAW. Every man has a scheme which will not work.
ZYMURGY'S FIRST LAW OF EVOLVING SYSTEM DYNAMICS. Once you open a can of worms, the only way to re-can them is to use a larger can.
SKINNER'S CONSTANT. The quantity which must be multiplied by, divided by, added to or subtracted from the answer you get to give the answer you should have got.
LAW OF SELECTIVE GRAVITY. An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
JENNING'S COROLLARY. The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
BARTH'S DISTINCTION. There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types and those who do not.
NINETY-NINETY RULE OF PROJECT SCHEDULES. The first 90% of the job takes 90% of the time, the last 10% takes the other 90%.

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