Friday, April 17, 2009


It is no accident that Murphy -- and there was a real Murphy! -- was an Irishman. The Irish know that there is no limit to how bad things can get. I suspect that in Hell things get worse and worse infinitely, just as in Heaven things get better and better infinitely. (This might not be orthodox theology, so I would be pleased if Fr. L. or Fr. Z. corrected me.) When they get to heaven they can talk to my Irish grandmother (at left).

Anyway, besides discovering America, re-Christianizing the European continent, beating the snot out of the Vikings for good, and producing Dave Matheny, the Irish have had more than their share of hard times too: do a google search on "Penal Laws" and "The Great Hunger" (I refuse to use "google" as a verb; some day I'll do a post on slang.)
Now I ask: breatheth there a soul so benighted that he knoweth not Murphy's Law?
This, as a philosophical statement, is self-proving, thusly:
1. The statement "If anything can go wrong it will" is a thing.
2. Therefore it itself can go wrong.
3. Therefore things can sometimes go right.
4. Experience proves statement #3.
5. Q.E.D.
Now of course this is only Murphy's first and main Law. There are many many more; I have seen sets of Murphy laws as derived from engineering, theater, housework, and so on.
Some other general Murphy Laws are:
Things which cannot possibly go wrong will do so anyway.
Everything will go wrong all at once.
Everything will go wrong in the direction of greatest possible harm.
If something looks right, it is probably wrong.
If something looks wrong, it is wrong.
An error which has been detected and corrected will be found to have been right in the first place.
There are commentaries on Murphy's Law by other Irishmen:
"Murphy was an optimist." -- O'Toole
"Things have already gone wrong; they just haven't told you yet." -- McGillicuddy
(Thank-you to Fr. Groeschel for that one)

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