Murphy's Law

"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

The History 

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.
- Note: One important fact about Murphy's Law was that it was not actually coined by Murphy, but by another man of the same name. Murphy was an optimist.
- How Murphy Died: One dark evening (in the U.S.), Mr. Murphy's car ran out of gas. As he hitchhiked to a gas station, while facing traffic and wearing white, he was struck from behind by a British tourist who was driving on the wrong side of the road.


Subrule #1a: If many things can go wrong, they will all go wrong at the same time.

SubRule #1b: If there is a possibility of one of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong

Subrule #1c: Alternative: Whatever was supposed to happen, Won't
SubRule #1d: Alternative: Corollary: If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the FIRST to go wrong
SubRule #2: If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway
SubRule #3: If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
SubRule #3: Corollary: It will be impossible to fix the fifth fault, without breaking the fix on one or more of the others.
SubRule #4: Behind every little problem there's a larger problem, waiting for the little problem to get out of the way.
SubRule #5a: The probability that something can go wrong is directly proportional to the square of the amount of inconvenience it can cause you
SubRule #5b: The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.
SubRule #6: If in a series events that could have gone wrong and didn't, It will have been ultimately beneficial for them to have gone wrong in the first place.
SubRule #7a: Anything that seems right, is putting you into a false sense of security.
SubRule #7b: The only time you are right, is when its about being wrong.
SubRule #7c: The only times something's right, is when everyone agrees its wrong.
SubRule #8: Everything that could possibly go wrong for anyone else will always happen to you
SubRule #9: Any time things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something
SubRule #9: Corollary: The light at the end of the tunnel is usually the headlamp of an oncoming train.
SubRule#10: No amount of advance planning will ever replace dumb luck.


Murphy's Law as it applies to ....

Order: #1: Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
#2: In any particular situation, if three things can go wrong, they usually do in sequence, each facilitating the occurrence of the next

Probability: #1: The probability of rain is inversely proportional to the size of the umbrella you carry around with you all day.
#2: The likelihood of something happening is in inverse proportion to the desirability of it happening.
#3a: If your action has a 50% possibility of being correct, you will be wrong 85% of the time.
#3b: If there is a 50-50 chance that something can go wrong, then 9 times out of 10 it will.
#4: The Likelyhood of spilling wine is direclly proportional to the cost of the carpet multiplied by the cost of the wine.

The Future: Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse

Preperation: #1: If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something
#2: You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.

Ingenuity: The best way to foster a perfect thought is to seal the envelope.

Nature: #1: Nature always sides with the hidden flaw
#2: In nature, nothing is ever right. Therefore, if everything is going right ... something is wrong.

Experience: Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Cleanliness: In order for something to get clean, something else must get dirty

Economics: #1: Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value
#2: A falling object will always land where it can do the most damage.
#3: The chance of the buttered side of the bread falling face down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
#4: A shatterproof object will always fall on the only surface hard enough to crack or break it.
#5: No matter how long or how hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it, it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.
#6: If you plan for something to go wrong, and it doesn't go wrong, it would have been ultimately profitable for it to go wrong.
#7a: You will never find any more loose change than you have already lost.
#7b: Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
#8: By the time you make ends meet, they move the ends.

Time Management: #1: Everything takes longer than it takes.
#2: Every solution breeds new problems.
#3a: The other line always moves faster.
#3b: If you step out of a short line for a second, it becomes a long line.
#4: You will find an easy way to do it, after you've finished doing it.
#5: The proposed size of any project is inversely proportional to the size the project will eventually become.
#6: The remaining work to finish in order to reach your goal increases as the deadline approaches.
#7: The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time, the last 10% takes the other 90% of the time.
#8: The simpler and quicker your transaction, the more complex and time-consuming the transaction of the person immediately ahead of you in the line.

Proximity: #1: A valuable dropped item will always fall into an inaccessible place (a diamond ring down the drain, for example) - or into the garbage disposal while it is running.
#2: A valuable falling in a hard to reach place will be exactly at the distance of the tip of your fingers
#3: If a valuable falls in a hard to reach place at a distance shorter than the tip of your finger, as soon as you try to reach it you'll push it to that distance.
#4: The severity of the itch is proportional to the reach.

Necesity: #1: A persons need for something, is inversely proportional to it's availability. 
#2: A persons disregard for something is direcly proportional to it's availability.

Reliability: One's willingness to do something is inversely proportional to:
A) the need for it to be done.
B) the number of people who are relying on that person to do it.

Observation: #1: the probability of being observed is in direct proportion to the stupidity of ones actions
#2:  the probability of being observed is in direct proportion to the embarrassment of ones actions

Home Economics: #1: If a dish is dropped while removing it from the cupboard, it will hit the sink, breaking the dish and chipping or denting the sink in the process.
#2: Anything dropped in the bathroom will fall in the toilet.
#3: A spoon placed in the sink will locate to maximize splash from the faucet

Home Maintenece #1: Anything you try to fix will take longer and cost you more than you thought.
#2: If you fool around with a thing for very long you will screw it up.
#3: If you use a pole saw to saw a limb while standing on an aluminum ladder borrowed from your neighbor, the limb will fall in such a way as to bend the ladder before it knocks you to the ground.

Lawn Maintenece: If you pick up a chunk of broken concrete and try to pitch it into an adjacent lot, it will hit a tree limb and come down right on the driver's side of your car windshield.

Pet Care: The greater the value of the rug, the greater the probability that the cat will throw up on it.

Home Organization #1: You will always find something in the last place you look.
#2: If your looking for more than one thing, you'll find the most important one last.
#3: An item can only be first in your normal searching order if you decide to reverse the normal searching order.
#4a: After you bought a replacement for something you've lost and searched for everywhere, you'll find the original.
#4b: The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
#5: In any household, junk accumulates to the the space available for its storage.

Repair: #1: A broken item's likeliness of working is highest when presented to a repairman.
#2: When a broken appliance is demonstrated for the repairman, it will work perfectly.
#2: Corollary: Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.
#3 The repairman will have never seen a model quite like yours before

Occupational: #1: Traffic is inversely proportional to how late you are, or are going to be.
#2: You will never leave a parking space without someone in an adjacent space leaving at the same time.
#3: The complexity and frustration factor is inversely proportional to how much time you have left to finish, and how important it is.
#4: There will always be beer cans rolling on the floor of your car when the boss asks for a ride home from the office.
#5: The more complicated the job is the less time and useful information you will be given.
#6: Success always occurs in private, and failure in full public view.

Clerical: #1: Paper is always strongest at the perforation.
#2: The chance a copy machine will brake down is proportional to the importance of the material that needs to be copied and inversely proportional to the amount of time till the material will be needed.
#3: The likelyhood of losing a document is proportional to it's importance but inversely proportional to the number of copies made.
#4: The file you are looking for is always at the bottom of the largest pile... unless you look there first.
#5: The legibility of a copy is inversely proportional to its importance.
#6: The phone will not ring until you leave your desk and walk to the other end of the building.
#7: The confidentiality of a document is proportional to the likelihood it will be left in the photocopy machine.

Management: In any hierarchy, each individual rises to his own level of incompetence, and then remains there

Sales: The severity of a sales problem is inversely proportional to the distance from nearest support office

Business: #1: The road to success is always under construction
#2: When you stand at your counter for hours on end and then go to break, that's when the customer comes and rings the bell for help.
#3: The more urgent the need for a decision to be made, less apparent become the identity of the decision maker

Construction: #1: The bolt that is in the most awkward place will always be the one with the tightest thread.
#2: Reading an instruction manual is inversely proportional to it's usefulness.
#3: A paint drip will always find the hole in the newspaper and land on the carpet underneath (and will not be discovered until it has dried).
#4: A dropped power tool will always land on the concrete instead of the soft ground (if outdoors) or the carpet (if indoors) - unless it is running, in which case it will fall on something it can damage (like your foot).

Technological: #1: Comprehension of technology is proportional to how soon it will be outdated.
#2: The new version always manages to change the one feature you need most.

Electronics: #1: The part with the highest failure rate will always be located in the least accessible area of the equipment.
#2: If you install a 50¢ fuse to protect a 100$ component, the 100$ component will blow to protect the 50¢ fuse.
#3: All things mechanical/electrical will catastrophically fail after the guarantee has expired, unless an extended guarantee has been purchased.
#4: Any wire cut to length will be too short.
#5: Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two parts which are unobtainable and three parts which are still under development.

Mechanical: #1: Any tool dropped will fall where it can cause the most damage.
#2: No part ever fails where you can reach it, or where there is enough light to see how to replace it.
#3: The probability any machine breaks down increases with the importance of expected visit.
#4: When working on a motor vehicle engine, any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll underneath to the exact center.
#5: Any instrument when dropped will roll into the least accessible corner.

Workmanship: #1: The quality of workmanship of any given object is inversely proportional to how useful it is.
#2: The quality of workmanship of any given object is inversely proportional to how well it works

Cosmetics: #1: The cost of the hair do is directly related to the strength of the wind.
#2: The wind will always blow opposite to your hairdo
#3: Wind velocity increases directly with the cost of the hairdo.
#4: The likelyhood of needing nails is greatest after a cut.

Photography: The best photos are generally attempted through the lens cap.

Desire: If you want something bad enough, chances are you won't get it.

Recreation: #1: Your best golf shots always occur when playing alone.
#2: The worst golf shots always occur when playing with someone you are trying to impress.

Power Generation: Given time one can develop a sense of how Murphy's Law will act, but the Murphy Sense will tingle only after it is too late to keep the excreta from impacting the rotating blade based wind generator.

Physical: Balance is proportional to the availability of something to hang on to.

Truth: If the truth is in your favor no one will believe you.

Computer: #1: for any given software, the moment you read software reviews and manage to master it, a new version of that software appears.
#2: The person ahead of you in the queue, will have the most complex transaction possible
#3: The more important it is to get to a website, the greater the chance the server is down.
#4: The probability of a hardware failure disappearing is inversely proportional to the distance between the computer and the customer engineer.
#5: Any program that has not yet crashed has not reached the most critical moment that it performs.

Religious: And on the eighth day God said;"O.K. Murphy, you take over!

Social: The nicer someone is, the farther away (s)he is from you.

Sex: The hornier someone is, the less likely that it will be they have sex.
Sex Corollary: Horniness is inversely related to one's chance of scoring

Relationship: #1: The amount of love someone feels for you is inversely proportional to how much you love them.
#2: Any good looking person you see that isn't alone, will be accompanied by a person of the opposite sex who doesn't deserve to be with them.

Calculus: Measurements will be quoted in the least practical unit; velocity, for example, will be measured in 'furlongs-per-fortnight'.

Shopping: #1: If you don't want it, there is plenty of it; If you really need it, they're all out of it.
#2:  The more you like a product, the more likely it will be discontinued.
#3:  Any item that you want to purchase from a catalog will always be out of stock at the time you want to buy it.
#4: If it says "one size fits all," it doesn't fit anyone.

Culinary: The hardness of the butter is in inverse proportion to the softness of the bread.

Taxes: The one time you didn't make a copy of your 1040, that's the one the IRS did not receive.

Weather: #1: Into every life some rain must fall. Usually when your car windows are down.
#2: You must first go outside with your umbrella, before it will stop raining

The Rule of Exceptions 

"Every rule has an exception except the Rule of Exceptions"  


Play Some Murphy's Law Games

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