If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong
(Sometimes known as the 4th law of Thermodynamics).
I have traced Murphy's
law back to a Captain Edward A. Murphy, an American engineer at Muroc, California (later named Edwards Air Force Base). In 1949 he was working on a project to test the effects of sudden braking.
Time after time his machinery failed, exasperated he said of his technician, 'If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it.'
John Paul Stapp picked up on Murphy's
phrase and used at a press conference.
As with any good idea, Murphy's
Law can be adapted and extended.
1st Amendment If there is a possibility of
several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
2nd Amendment If you realize that there are three possible ways in which something can go wrong,
and cover them all, then a fourth, unprepared for way, will miraculously appear out of thin air.
3rd Amendment When something breaks, the parts damaged are in direct proportion to their value.
4th Amendment The failure does not appear until the machinery has passed its final inspection.
5th Amendment When you drop a part, it always rolls into the darkest corner.
Last Amendment to Murphy's law Any attempt to print out this copy of Murphy's law will crash the computer.
Any project will require at least two journeys to the hardware shop.
If you need more than one item (pair, four, etc) the probability
that one will be damaged or the wrong colour is directly
to the desire or need of the object.
You always need more paint.
You never have enough nails, screws or glue.
The likelihood that you will complete a weekend project before the
end of the weekend decreases with when you actually start the project.
Therefore: Any plumbing project started after 4pm on Sunday will
require an emergency call to the plumber to get the water running
To estimate the amount of time needed to complete a project:
estimate the amount of time needed, multiply by two and use the next
highest unit. Hence: A one hour task will take at least two
days to complete.
Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease,
your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to go to the rest room.
of Gravity - Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible
Law of Probability - The probability of being watched is directly
proportional to the stupidity of your act.
Law of Random Numbers - If you
dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.
Law of the Alibi - If you tell the boss you were late for work because you
had a flat tyre, the very next morning you will have a flat tyre.
Variation Rider - If you change queues or traffic lanes, the one you were in
will always move faster than the one you are in now. This also works in
supermarkets and shops.
Law of the Bath - When the body is fully immersed
in water, the telephone rings.
Decree of Close Encounters - The probability
of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone
you don't want to be seen with. This is also the case if you are female and
you have gone out with no makeup and wearing your worst clothes and with
Murphy's Office Law - When you try to prove to someone that a
machine won't work, it will. Will also finds this when he shows someone that
something on the computer is easy and it doesn't work.
Biomechanics - The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the
Law of the Theatre - At any event, the people whose seats are
furthest from the aisle arrive last.
The Starbucks Edict - As soon as you
sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something
which will last until the coffee is cold.
Murphy's Law of Lockers - If
there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.
Law of Physical Surfaces - The chances of an open-faced marmalade sandwich
landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness
and cost of the carpet.
The Conundrum of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if
you don't know what you are talking about.
Brown's Law of Physical
Appearance - If the shoe fits, it's ugly.
Oliver's Rule of Public Speaking
- A closed mouth gathers no feet. Will's favourite!
Wilson's Law of
Commercial Marketing Strategy - As soon as you find a product that you
really like, they will stop making it.
Doctors' Law - If you don't feel
well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there
you'll feel better. Don't make an appointment and you'll stay sick.
and Guy's Law - If you don't save things on your computer you will, sooner
rather than later, delete them.
Godwin's Law (Also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies)
This internet law was proposed by Mike Godwin back in 1990. His law
states: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a
comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1 (certainty)".
The simplest model is most likely to be correct. This is always
true when we are dealing with unusual phenomena such as what created crop
This principle of parsimony was developed by William of Occam. He
states that a person should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the
number of entities required to explain anything, or that the person should
not make more assumptions than the minimum needed.
The Totalitarian Principle declares that anything which is not forbidden
by any specific rule of physics, is required by law to occur, with no
Whatever is not forbidden is compulsory.
The above is a form of what is called the Totalitarian Principle. The phrase
was first used by physicist Murray Gell-Mann in reference to the laws that
might be issued by a totalitarian government seeking full control over their
Footnote: Please send us your examples of Murphy's Law.
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