Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who was Murphy anyway? And why is he interfering with my life?

I am not a superstitious person. I will walk under ladder, pet a black cat and laugh at a broken mirror. I roll my eyes at credulous tales foretelling doom or destiny occurring upon a specific event. I don’t keep pet crickets, I don’t toss salt over my shoulder and I actually think carrying around a rabbit’s foot is slightly morbid.

I also consider myself an optimist. I see the cup as half full. I can see good when it is buried in the bad. An impossible task becomes only another challenge to conquer.

But, in spite of all this, I still find myself plagued by Murphy’s Law.

It is not superstition. It is not pessimism.

It just is.

That is a fact.

I first heard about Murphy’s law while I was a seamstress at an alteration shop. My boss, a wonderfully colorful lady, stated as matter-of-factly as if she had said her teeth were located in her mouth, that Murphy’s law was alive and well in the alteration business. If you had 10 items of clothing due on Tuesday and left the shop Monday leaving the last item to do first thing in the morning, the owner of that one unfinished piece would show up at opening to retrieve their item.
Sure enough, every time, it happened like that.

If you promised someone a 10 minute hem, the machine would break, making it take ½ hour.

Every time.

My children and I have decided we need to keep a calendar of when I get the car washed, versus when it rains. In Arizona, we have sun 360 days a year. It seems like I choose to wash my car within 48 hours before any one of those rainy days. Even when weather forecasts predict nothing but sun for days.

When I am running late, I hit stop lights. When we have family pictures, a child shaves off an eyebrow (true story), when I am cooking something to share with someone else, it bombs (let’s talk about burned steak and soggy veggies)

This is the same law that gets chocolate on my children somewhere on the ride to church, leaving their clothes covered in sticky melted mess. This is the law that splashes bleach on my new shirt, convinces my son to spatter black ink all over my new furniture and makes it possible for me to purchase the ONLY defective toy on the shelf.

It is the law that our Construction Crew swore to when remodeling our house (another story for another day). It is the law that our babies embrace, keeping us up all night when we have an early morning and long day ahead. Murphy interferes when I choose the one day to go to the store in grubbies, I will see a long lost friend, from a time when I was more put together.

Yup, Murphy sticks his big nose in all my business.

It isn’t superstition. It just is.

How has Murphy meddled with your life?


cami said...

Believe it or not, I love Murphy in my life. I too am not superstitious. BUT, Murphy's Law has become my friend in my life. Yes, we NEED to embrace it and just laugh at ourselves. And in the past I have tried to fix this problem and avoid all collisions with Murphy's law in my life. No this does not work....EVER. Trust me on this. So I as well as alot of other people, are cursed to hold to this great law that says I can not be perfect and I WILL have crazy days that make great embarassing moments to go in my memory book. Thank you Murphy's Law! I echo many of your situations. I am very grateful for the time that I went visiting teaching for the first time in my first ward being married, I knocked, bent over to get my son from his stroller and my pants ripped(huge)just as she answered her door. Murphy's law is in my memory log in high school too. Although the funniest times are now when I have kids and sooooo many expectations. Good times.

Sharla said...

Oh Man! His law about hitting EVERY red light when I'm late! That's the one that gets me the MOST!!

It never fails either--when someone is wearing white at mealtime, it gets dirty! I've gotten to the point where white is not allowed at the dinner table!

But the one that never seems to fail is as soon as I enter the bathroom, the phone rings, or someone is at the door, or my children's radar goes off and I'm suddenly needed--NOW! Never fails!!

heather said...

I seriously love this post and it is oh so true I know!!

I just mentioned Murphy in a post myself.

Tink said...

Oh how I can totally relate...especially on Mondays! Oye.

Becky said...

Darn that Murphy! He really gets around, doesn't he?

My daughter needs a diaper change five minutes before church starts - the exact moment we should be walking out the door. I kid you not, she's the human version of Old Faithful.

Tim Penrod said...

I think it works like when you form opinions about what you, your spouse or children "always" do or are like. People get it in their minds that things are a certain way, and then they only pay attention to the evidence that supports that conclusion. For example, if you think your spouse always leaves the toilet seat up, each time you notice that it is up you will tell yourself -- "see, there is more evidence that he ALWAYS leaves it up". But the truth could be that it is only left up 10% of the time.

People who think it rains EVERY time they wash their car just ignore all the times that it doesn't rain when they wash their car and focus on the times that it it is like all the times that don't prove your personal theory about something don't count.

That is pretty harmless for some things. But it can also be pretty damaging too. For example, if a child believes he/she alwasy gets picked last to be on a team (even if the truth is he/she only gets picked last 1/4 of the time), he/she will continue gathering evidence for themselves that this the case, reinforcing a very negative image.

If you take Murphy's law to an extreme, that is what it is -- selective attention on all the things that are wrong, unfair, etc. in a person's life. And I'll bet that the majority of the time it is inaccurate. I think it would be better to have the opposite view of life--that things will ALWAYS work out for the best or that they ALWAYS happen for a good reason, even if that reason isn't obvious at first.

Why not spend our energy reinforcing that notion instead?

stACEy said...

you see Murphey is my Uncle! LOL

I loved this post@! said...

So I agree with Tim...however there is just no explanation for certain things BUT Murphy's LAW.
The frames on the glasses that I'd had for 2 years broke last year. Was it on the year that insurance would pay for it. Of course not! So we paid out of pocket. This year since my frames were still "new" and my prescription unchanged I decided that this year I would get some sweet new prescription sunglasses with our insurance.
Literally, 2 days after they called me to tell me my sunglasses were ready, my frames on my not-even a year-old frames, broke and the lens' were too small to just put in another frame. So we ended up paying full price, out of pocket for a new pair of frames and lens'.
What could that be but Murphy's Law.
He is alive and well in my life.