Thursday, May 28, 2009

Murphy's Law

At one time or another we have all made the comment that perhaps everything turning upside down on a particular day had to do with Murphy’s Law. That prompted me into looking into exactly what generated that term: MURPHY’S LAW. Here is what I found…

First there was a very technical, military explanation…
The following article was excerpted from The Desert Wings, March 3, 1978”…

Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will") was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base. 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. Actually, what he did was take an old law that had been around for years in a more basic form and give it a name…”

That’s all very well and good, but I like this explanation better…

Murphy's Law or Sod's Law?

While I admit that the name of Murphy's laws is a pleasant one as is the story of how it came to light, but the original name for 'if anything can go wrong it will' was sod's law because it would happen to any poor sod who needed such a catastrophic event the least. It also removes the ability to say "I coined this phrase!" because sod's law has been around long before any living man and has existed in many forms for hundreds of years. In the English County of Yorkshire I know it to have been around for generations because it has been passed through several Yorkshire families I know. But this original name is dying out because sod over here is a cursory so is not used much. Murphy's on the other hand is nothing insulting or lacking in hope I hope this clears any problems up and while this maybe hard to come to terms with, think about it, would such an obvious piece of logic have only come about in the second half of the 20th century???? (no credit given for this explanation)


  • If anything can go wrong, it will (Corollary: It can; Corollary: It should)
  • MacGillicuddy's Corollary: At the most inopportune timeExtension: it will be all your fault, and everyone will know it.
  • 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
  • Extreme version: 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
  • If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway
  • If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something

Well dern… it just goes on and on. AND there are soooooo many of them. It’s a really neat site if you’re interested… or have nothing pressing to do for the next few minutes/hours/days… Meanwhile, I’ll just blame my bum luck on Murphy’s Law.

Thanks for stopping by… BBSL


  1. Yep, I've had many visit with Murphy. Sometimes you laugh and other times you don't.

    What a fun look into a phrase that many of us use. Thanks for doing the research.

    Have a terrific day without Murphy. :)

  2. I seem to recall reading once upon a time a long time ago that Murphy's Law was called Sod's Law but I'd long since forgotten that tidbit. Thanks for the reminder and for the history lesson!


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