The Laws of Murphy (and others)

16 09 2005

Laws Governing Everyday Life

Firestone’s Law of Forecasting:

    Chicken Little only has to be right once.

Manly’s Maxim:

    Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

Grizzard’s truism:

    The trouble with most jobs is the job holder’s resemblance to being one of a sled dog team.

    No one gets a change of scenery except the lead dog.

Cannon’s Comment:

    If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tyre, the next morning you will have a flat tyre.


    If anything can go wrong, it will.

Murphy’s First Corollary:

    Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

    Any attempt on your part to correct this will only accelerate the process.

Murphy’s Second Corollary:

    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious

Murphy’s Constant:

    Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value

Quantised Revision of Murphy’s Law:

    Everything goes wrong all at once.

O’Toole’s Commentary:

    Murphy was an optimist.

Finagle’s Fourth Law:

    Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.

Gumperson’s Law:

    The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.

Rudin’s Law:

    In crises that force people to choose among alternative courses of action, most people will choose the worst one possible.

Ginsberg’s Restatement of the Three Laws of Thermodynamics:

    You can’t win.

    You can’t break even.

    You can’t quit.

Ehrman’s Commentary

    Things will get worse before they will get better.

    Who said things would get better?

Commoner’s Second Law of Ecology:

    Nothing ever goes away.

Howe’s Law:

    Everyone has a scheme that will not work.

Zymurgy’s First Law of Evolving Systems Dynamics:

    Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a bigger can.

Non-Reciprocal Law of Expectations:

    Negative expectations yield negative results.

    Positive expectations yield negative results.

Klipstein’s Laws:

    Tolerances will accumulate unidirectionally toward maximum difficulty of assembly.

    Interchangeable parts won’t.

    You never find a lost article until you replace it.

Glatum’s Law of Materialistic Acquisitiveness:

    The perceived usefulness of an article is inversely proportional to its actual usefulness once bought and paid for.

Lewis’ Laws:

    No matter how long or hard you shop for an item, after you’ve bought it, it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.

    If nobody uses it, there’s a reason.

    You get the most of what you need the least.

The Aeroplane Law:

    When the plane you are on is late, the plane you want to transfer to is on time.

Etorre’s Observation:

    The other line moves faster.

O’Brien’s Variation:

    If you change lines, the one you just left will start to move faster than the one you are now in.

The Queue Principle:

    The longer you wait in line, the greater the likelihood that you are in the wrong line.

First Law of Revision:

    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after – and only after – the plans are complete.

(Often called the ‘Now They Tell Us’ Law)

Corollary I:

    In simple cases, presenting one obvious right way versus one obvious wrong way, it is often wiser to choose the
    wrong way so as to expedite subsequent revision.

Second Law of Revision:

    The more innocuous the modification appears to be, the further its influence will extend and the more plans will have to be redrawn.

Third Law of Revision:

    If, when completion of a design is imminent, field dimensions are finally supplied as they actually are — instead
    of as they were meant to be — it is always simpler to start all over.

Corollary I:

    It is usually impractical to worry beforehand about interferences — if you have none, someone will make one for you.



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