Murphy’s Law, along with all of its sub-laws, commentaries, and corollaries, has been providing us humans with boatloads of rib-tickling truisms for decades to say to the least. Murphy said; “If anything can go wrong, it will.” To which O’Toole added his commentary; “Murphy was an optimist.” And, IT does and HE was.
But, when it comes to happenstance in this world, we can’t legitimately blame anything on Mr. Murphy; he’s just an observer. Since humans are the only life forms capable of self-awareness, we’re the only ones capable of committing errors, even though we constantly use our subtle stupidity and humongous egos to shield us from recognizing it.
Murphy has been at the scenes of every disaster known to humanity. He was aboard the space shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986 when it exploded just 73 seconds after liftoff. He was the only survivor. He was also aboard Columbia on February 1, 2003 when it disintegrated in flames upon re-entry, just about 16 minutes from its scheduled landing. Again, Mr. Murphy was the only survivor.
On May 25, 1979, Murphy, though not on the official manifest, was on board American Airlines Flight 191 out of O’Hare International in Chicago. That flight crashed on takeoff after losing an engine. And, as always, not only was he there, he walked away unscathed. As well, he was a stowaway aboard the Titanic and an observer during the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado.
Though cats have—according to myth—nine lives, this feat is nothing compared to the power of Mr. Murphy! As long as humans exist on this planet, Mr. Murphy will live in infamy, assured of no chance of injury, let alone death.
Between December 12, 1952 and September 30, 1999, the world witnessed twenty-one nuclear disasters. Six of them occurred in the United States, two of which happened in Tennessee. Six others happened in the old Soviet Union with two of them devastating Chernobyl. Britain, Canada, Germany, and Japan all contributed as well. And, yes, Mr. Murphy was there for all of them and walked away without as much as a scratch.
He was in New York City on 9/11/2001. If not lurking inside the Twin Towers, he was somewhere in the vicinity. As well, his presence was in the preponderance throughout this country’s financial meltdown and its ensuing consequences.
And, he was a constant witness throughout a nonstop blitz of Jared Lee Loughner’s behavior warning signs that constantly bellowed for all to hear; “He’s nuts!”
And, he was in Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011 when Mr. Loughner proved it by shooting nineteen people, six of them fatally, in a hail of automatic gunfire. But, as always, Mr. Murphy slipped away, undetected and unscathed, while the rest of the world stood in utter shock and dismay searching for people to blame.
Pick any disaster at random. While Mr. Murphy’s presence is usually evident, there is not a shred of direct evidence that he’s EVER caused ANY of the disasters. He’s not an agent of cause; he’s just an observer. And, even this is not a main component of his job description.
Mr. Murphy’s primary function in life is continually reminding us that NO ONE is capable of beating the Law of Averages. And his law states this quite clearly. In essence, it states that if anything bad can possibly happen, it will, EVENTUALLY. And, even worse, whenever it does happen, it will most often be light-years from trivial.
The social formula for disaster is simple; though we constantly misread it. Put enough humans in close proximity with things that can go wrong—which consists of EVERY endeavor we’ve ever tried—and carelessness, oversight, a desire NOT to become involved, and often outright stupidity will combine in ways to cause unprecedented human misery.
Mostly, no one acts with anticipated malice. It’s a question of odds. It simply amounts to a play against the Law of Averages (regression to the mean). But, unfortunately, when that law gets even—and it ALWAYS does—it usually does so with a horrible tally of human suffering and loss of life.
We humans have always waged a constant battle against three of our most insidious archenemies: EGO, ARROGANCE, and STUPIDITY. And the three of them are interrelated.
Whenever EGO engages in a love affair with ARROGANCE, the resultant love child is a dumbass named Stupidity. And, since there seems to be no shortage of egos and arrogances, the stream of stupidities tends to be endless. So, our continued and ill-advised bets against the Law of Averages are not going to diminish.
Let’s all keep this in mind the next time we hear that Islamic terrorists do not have nuclear weapons; or, the next time we read a statement out of Washington, DC that Iran is years from offensive nuclear capability; or, that some vaccine is “absolutely” safe; or, that this country is too big to fail; or, any number of other things the “experts” constantly tell us.
Trust in your fellow man if you wish, but cut the damn cards. And, ALWAYS remember that there’s a reason to declare “computer error” a redundancy. They do not make mistakes; they merely function as HUMANS—all of whom DO make mistakes—programmed them. And, as well intentioned as we are, OOPS comes with the territory!
Joe Walther is a freelance writer and publisher of The True Facts. You may comment on his column by clicking here.