Murphy Rules All!

Sharav Creative Writing 2010. Theme: Murphy’s Law

Ever wondered why guys trip over their untied shoelaces while trying to reach their dream girl to ask her out for Saarang Dance Workshop? Or why the bread always falls on its buttered side especially when you are getting late for an 8 o’clock class? Most of us accept it as our ill-fated destiny but actually, a cynical law by the name of Murphy’s Law is the main cause.

Murphy’s Law basically states that “’If anything can go wrong, it will”. It can be thought as one of those rare breed of laws which haven’t been discovered either experimentally or empirically but have been found to be obeyed as consistently as Newton’s three Laws of Motion. Moreover, the pessimism exuded by this law is enough to make Aamir Khan change his customary words from “AAL IZ WELL” to “ALL IS SHIT”.

So, when and how did this so called ‘Murphy’s Law’ come into the existence? Most of the sources attribute the origin to Captain Edward A. Murphy, an American aerospace engineer, who performed studies on deceleration for the U.S. Air Force in 1949. To test the human tolerance for g-forces during rapid deceleration, the tests used a rocket sled mounted on a railroad track with a series of hydraulic brakes at the end.

Edward Murphy proposed using electronic strain gauges attached to the restraining clamps of harness to measure the force exerted on them by his rapid deceleration. Murphy’s assistant wired the harness, and a trial was run using a chimpanzee.

The sensors provided a zero reading, however; it became apparent that they had been installed incorrectly, with each sensor wired backwards. It was at this point that a disgusted Murphy made his pronouncement. He blamed the failure on his assistant after the failed test, saying, “If that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will.” Despite being offered the time and chance to calibrate and test the sensor installation prior to the test proper, which he declined somewhat irritably, he, thus, got off on the wrong foot with the team.

George Nichols, another engineer who was present, stated “Murphy’s law” came about through conversation among the other members of the team and named for Murphy in mockery of what Nichols perceived as arrogance on Murphy’s part.

Other sources have questioned that the Murphy in the name was a real person. They argue that Murphy was actually conceived as a fictitious character that appeared in a series of educational cartoons put out by the U.S. Navy. Murphy was a careless, all-thumbs mechanic who was prone to make such mistakes as installing a propeller backwards.

However, the case for Edward A. Murphy being the source is fairly strong, but perhaps not quite ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’.

On the lighter side, incidentally, a lot of Brits think that Murphy’s Law is an Irish joke. Murphy is an Irish name of course, and the Irish have been the butt of jokes from Brits for a long time because according to British mythology on the Irish, Irish are supposed to be careless or stupid or both. So they are to be solely responsible for things going wrong as referred to by the Murphy’s Law.

So, next time your trip over or the bread falls on its buttered side, you know who to blame!!!!!

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