Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Why not try Murphy’s law in reverse

Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
My wife is a closet pessimist. She seems positive most of the time, but she has this irritating habit of calling tiny incidents “Murphy’s law.” It’s harmless but it drives me nuts.

I always know when it’s coming. We will be driving across flat, empty Texas for hours without seeing another vehicle and just when I come to a narrow bridge I will pass a semi-trailer. I hear from the passenger seat, “Murphy’s law.” The dump station will be empty all morning as we prepare to leave a campground and just as I pull up to dump, someone else will pull in ahead of me. Again, I hear from the passenger seat, “Murphy’s law.”

The examples go on and on. I just can’t take it any longer. Do you think there really is a “Murphy’s law?” Is there any way of breaking “Murphy’s law?” I just can’t take wave after wave of Murphy. Please help me. —Murph the Surf in Medford

Dear Murph:
It’s an old adage that refers to “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

Why not make a game out of it? You seem to know when it’s coming – beat her to the punch. Every time you cross a narrow bridge and do not meet another vehicle, ask her, “What happened to Murphy?” When you arrive at the dump station and have it all to yourself, tell her Murphy must not have to dump today. It might be fun to keep score and see how often Murphy actually rears his ugly head. When he doesn’t, you can say “Yhprum’s law” (where the name is spelled backwards). It’s the optimistic application of Murphy’s law in reverse, where “Anything that can go right will go right.”

If this is your only problem traveling together, I think you are doing just fine. But if you pull into a campground and the last site has just been taken by the RV in front of you, well, that’s just “Murphy’s Law.” —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.





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Gene Bjerke (@guest_24881)
5 years ago

Here’s Bjerke’s Corollary: “All variables not directly accounted for combine to produce the effect least desired.”

William E. Hall (@guest_24849)
5 years ago

Hall’s Corrally, “Murphy was an optimist.”

Mike Sokol
5 years ago

The concept of Murphy’s law may be as old as humankind itself, but the modern version was named for a 1950’s engineer named Murphy about a failed rocket experiment “. He’s sort of the patron saint of engineers. And yes, there’s a book about it which you could get for your wife as a birthday present. https://www.amazon.com/History-Murphys-Law-Nick-Spark/dp/1411684699 and here’s a list on variations and corollaries of Murphy’s law you’ll be able to use if there’s an appropriate lull in the conversation. https://murphyslaws.net/

Edward Price (@guest_24912)
5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Murphy most often visits those people who are living the Peter Principle.
But seriously, Murphy yields catastrophe, not simple inconvenience. Simply encountering a tight squeeze on a bridge is just the start. If you are pulling wide to avoid the traffic, hit a pothole, have your mirror fall off and puncture both your rear duallys, then have the tires come off the rim bringing you to a sickening stop blocking both lanes of traffic, then your wife can think about invoking Murphy. If you get out to check the damage, and see that your black tank is now leaking and that you also hit a skunk just as you stopped, you can think about admitting that your wife just might be right this time. And, if you look over the bridge railing and see an out-of-control barge sweeping downstream toward the bridge, well then, you’re just going to have to admit that sometimes she’s right about Murphy.

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