My Old Kentucky Homesite

Who the Hell Was Murphy, Anyway?

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 05/29/2010

Yesterday, Ben Schott invited readers of his feature in The New York Times to invent new eponymous “laws.” Here’s his post.

Of course, I couldn’t resist. I’d already created Wallberg’s Law, named after myself. I immediately typed that one in, and — why not? — linked back to this blog.

But Schott really seemed to want readers to use the names of well-known fictional characters, historical figures, and present-day newsmakers.  Therefore, I came up with the following. (Note: Since originally posting these at “Schott’s Vocab,” I’ve revised one or two for maximum hilarity.)

Watson’s Law: One man’s “elementary” is another man’s “huh?”

Clarabell’s Law: Honk if you’ve got seltzer.
Marx’s Corollary: Or a harp.

Fudd’s Law: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s pwobably a wascally wabbit.

Caesar’s Law: It ain’t over till the soothsayer sings.

Dorothy’s Law: If you wear emerald-tinted glasses, men will seldom make passes, nor will they help you find your way back to Kansas.

Benchley-Cameron’s Law: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to write about a fish, and you feed Hollywood forever.

Prissy’s Law: Talkin’ is easy. Birthin’ babies is hard.

My readers are much funnier than most of the people who pore over The Times every day, so I invite you to contribute your own words of wisdom.


31 Responses to “Who the Hell Was Murphy, Anyway?”

  1. John Evo said

    Darwin’s Law – That which can be verifiably given evidence for today will still be argued against mindlessly by Christians 150 years later.

  2. the chaplain said

    Saddleback Law – if it ain’t vaginal penetration, it ain’t intercourse.

  3. the chaplain said

    If I must use the name of a person rather than the nickname of an act, I’ll amend the previous comment:

    Warren’s Law (aka, Saddleback Law): if it ain’t vaginal penetration, it ain’t sexual intercourse.

    I hope I’ve now successfully dotted all my Is, crossed all my Ts, and minded all of my Ps and Qs. I don’t want to get a reputation as a nonconformist or something.

  4. Evo:
    Great law, but I’d rather see it named after one of the idiots instead of Darwin. So how about:
    Behe’s Law: A valuable scientific principle that has stood the test of time and survived every one of its challenges can always be denied by an ignorant theist.

    Why Warren? Wouldn’t your maxim be better known as Clinton’s Law?

  5. the chaplain said

    As far as I know, Clinton and Lewinsky didn’t saddleback. Granted, there’s a lot that I don’t know, and don’t want to know, about what those two did together. But, I’m pretty sure that he didn’t stain her pretty blue dress while saddlebacking. I named the law after Warren because the term “saddlebacking” refers to his church and “the phenomenon of Christian teens engaging in unprotected anal sex in order to preserve their virginities.”

  6. the chaplain said

    Clinton’s Law: If it’s oral, it’s not sex.

  7. Chappy:
    Well, I wouldn’t want to make an ass of myself, so I stand corrected.

  8. As long as we’re talking about sex, there’s the Falwell/Robertson Theorum:

    All natural catastrophes are the result of two lesbians enjoying themselves on the other side of the world.

  9. SI:
    Nice one!

    And, of course, the best way to prevent a natural catastrophe is for the Dutch boy to put his finger in the dyke.

  10. I don’t think it’s a finger that the F/R theorem contemplates.

  11. SI:
    Well, you’re the expert on Falwell and Robertson.

  12. MacLeroy’s Law: There’s no stupid too stupid for Texas textbooks.

    Craig’s Corollary: Picking up men in a well-known gay pickup spot doesn’t imply one is a homosexual.

    Alternate Craig’s Corollary: If one is arrested prior to “mission accomplished,” he isn’t really gay.

    Hovind’s Law: A Ph.D. from a bullshit “university” is no replacement for official church status when it comes to getting away with tax evasion.

  13. Des:
    Hey, those are all good. I think the first one should be properly spelled as “McLeroy’s Law,” but since Christians don’t care about spelling it’s all good. Maybe some sectret atheist managed to sneak that “A” in.

  14. Reker’s Law: It ain’t gay if you do it in Europe.

  15. Philly:
    Uh-huh. What happens in Europe, stays in Europe.
    But it gets reported on American TV.

  16. Sarge said

    Murphy was actually a US Army aviation maintainance officer who was also involved in crash investigation boards.

    The gist of his actual quote was that if it was possible for a part to be installed incorrectly, at some point someone would do so, based on his experience.
    Someone, in true folkloric tradition maodified it to the present form, “If something CAN go wrong, it WILL go wrong”.

    Therefore, in response to the “Modified Murphy” I tender: “O’Toole’s Observation, “Murphy was an optimist”!

    May I also present;

    Cole’s Law – Finly chopped cabbacge and other savory vegetables mixed with a piquant and creamy sauce…


  17. Sarge:
    So here’s a paradox for you: Can Murphy’s Law go wrong?

  18. the chaplain said

    Haggard’s Law – It ain’t gay if you do it under the influence of drugs.

    Swaggart’s Law – It ain’t adultery if you just watch.

  19. Chappy>:
    There seems to be a theme to your entries.

    Chappy’s Law:
    If a fundy is caught in allegedly “immoral” behavior, Chappy will come up with a law that applies.

  20. Sarge said

    I put that question up on the shelf with my container of Schrodinger’s Cat and a couple of Koans. They’ll all be solved when we open the box with the cat in it.

  21. Sarge said

    IF it’s really in it!

  22. Sarge:
    I once knew a guy named Cohen who had a cat. But he hardly ever saw it because the animal kept running away to race against Achilles and a tortoise.

  23. ildi said

    Why Warren? Wouldn’t your maxim be better known as Clinton’s Law?

    Oh, how quickly we forget the cigar!

  24. Ildi:

    OK, you’re right. So how about …
    Clinton’s Law: If it looks like a penis, walks like a penis, and quacks like a penis, it could be a presidential double corona.

  25. Clinton’s Law: If you smell smoke after sex, don’t look down. Check to see if there’s a (former) President smoking a cigar in the room.

  26. ildi said

    Lewinsky’s Law: Don’t brag about illicit sex to a coworker who is not getting any.

  27. SI:
    You must have been thinking of that old joke —
    He: Do you smoke after sex?
    She: I don’t know. I never looked.

    Ildi: Great one. I think you’d have been one of the “winners” if you’d entered that in Schott’s contest.

  28. Yes. It was a piss poor attempt to riff off that old joke.

    I won’t be so derivative next time. 8)

  29. SI:
    Thanks for another good example of why the government needs to control derivatives.

  30. 4nsicphd said

    Buddhist Monk’s law: Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man afire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.

  31. 4nsic:
    Nice one.

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