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Murphy's Law Has Loopholes

Obviously the world doesn't need to see any of my photographs of the Moab area, with all the tourists running around with iPhones. Still, I like to take a few photographs on a mountain bike ride, perhaps just as an excuse to stop and enjoy certain spots. I did so here.

Just then I noticed something weird happening on my face. My prescription sunglasses had just fallen apart. Actually it was just that one screw in the frame had come off. Can you believe it? With all the crap that I bring along and never use, I didn't have the little screwdriver and a couple spare screws that you need to fix eyeglasses.

What if I were a rock climber and this had happened? Or a sea kayaker? Is this why 'four eyes' used to get draft deferments?

At any rate I was able to mountain bike back to the van with only one lens, and the other eye closed. My three-dimensional vision was messed up, and it is surprising that I didn't goof up on the Utah slickrock.

But just think. I've been wearing eyeglasses for 50 years, and this is the first time that something like this happened outdoors, on some kind of outing. Why doesn't it happen frequently? Anything could damage a pair of eyeglasses: going over the handlebars on a bike accident; stepping on your eyeglasses when sleeping in a tent; a rambunctious dog chewing on them, etc. 

And there is no Walmart optical department in Moab. That means that you will have to go to a real eye-doctor. The receptionist will probably inform you that a new state law requires you to get a $150 eye exam whenever the customer merely needs a new nose-piece or tiny screw for his existing eyeglasses.

When I came home I easily fixed the sunglasses once I had found the little screwdriver and pile of spare screws. The last time I went to the Walmart optical department, they used Loctite threadlocker on the tiny screw, so I did that too.

Looking around the trailer I wondered if there were other things that are miraculously immune to Murphy's Law. There are.
  • the propane stove,
  • screws sunk into wood. They never rattle loose, despite the washboard roads,
  • the Shur-Flo water pump,
  • roof vents, and Fan-tastic fans,
  • Rubbermaid storage tubs made out of 'LDPE,' low density polyethylene. The opposite applies to Sterilite tubs made out of 'PP', polypropylene.
  • mountain bike tires and tubes. I can go for years without a flat,
  • and LED lights, I suspect, although they are new enough to be unsure of.
Since most people spend quite a bit of money and worry on repairing automobiles, it seems counter-intuitive to claim that most of an automobile seems immune to Murphy's Law, but let's not forgot just how many parts there are.

You could say the same of animals' bodies, including human bodies. It isn't Murphy's fault that people squander their youthful, healthy years while hoping to "really start living" at a retirement age that is past their biological expiration date.

If you want a challenge, make a list of the things in your life that seem curiously immune to Murphy's Law, and then make the opposite list, of things that seem invented just to exasperate you. Can you explain the common property of the items on each list? Things can't end up on the 'good' list or the 'baddie' list at random. There must be explainable principles at work.

On the 'evil' list I would put zippers at the top, closely followed by those hateful butane flame throwers that you need to start the stove. Regarding the latter, why don't I just use matches? They seem pretty immune to Murphy's Law.

'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars...'


Ed said…

You have really done it now. Have you lost your mind? To say something like "pretty immune to Murphy's Law" is the equivalent to saying that you have discovered the philosopher's stone or that you have disproved the Law of Gravity.

I have replaced a Shur-Flo water pump, I have a vent fan that sounds like a thrashing machine when running (to be fair it is not a Fan-tastic), my propane stove burners have a lighting problem and I have cabinet door hinge screws that have pulled out of the wood.

You also cut the quote short "..., But in ourselves, that we are underlings."
I used a Shur-Flo water pump for 17 years straight in my first trailer, including abusing it near freezing temperatures. No problems.

You probably have piezo lighters on your stove, and those are problem-prone, just as those piezo flame throwers are.

Cabinet doors, wooden cabinets, loose screws? Wooden cabinets serve no purpose. You said the screw pulled out of the "wood." Don't you mean 'particle board?'

Most of the problems with RVs are self-inflicted by the RVers, with their strange ideas of turning a reliable camping machine into a suburban house on wheels.
John V said…
It's not so much about Murphy's Law as it is about how a person handles life. Things always break eventually. It's how you deal with it that counts. Some people curl up in the corner in a fetal position when faced with a problem. Others just figure it out and keep on keeping on. Rule #1: Dont sweat the small stuff. Rule #2: It's all small stuff.
A pep talk from John V? Well, I don't disagree with what you said, but it doesn't change the fact that some of the material stuff in our lives is more prone to the ravages of Murphy's Law because of bad design or bad materials. Do consumers give much thought to design and materials?
John V said…
What? You think all of my advice involves whips and public shaming? :-)

One of the earliest wealth building tips I remember learning (after the magic of compound interest), was the advantage of paying a higher price for the highest possible quality item, maintaining that item, and then using/keeping that item for a long, long time. Unfortunately I think too many consumers focus too much on low cost at the expense of design and materials. Then they get frustrated when it breaks and they need to go out and buy another low cost, cheaply made item to replace it. In some ways it's the Walmartization of our culture (although I am a fan of Walmart for certain items).