- If anything can go wrong, it will
Corollary: It can
Corollary by Dr. Allen Roberds
Corollary: It should
MacGillicuddy's Corollary: At the most inopportune time
Corollary by Earl R. Johnson
Extension: it will be all your fault, and everyone will know it.
Extension by Dean A. Izett
- If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong
If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the FIRST to go wrong
Extreme version by Neal Miller
- If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway
- If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop
Corollary: It will be impossible to fix the fifth fault, without breaking the fix on one or more of the others
Corollary by Sean Cheshire
- Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse
- If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something
- Nature always sides with the hidden flaw
Corollary: The hidden flaw never stays hidden for long.
Corollary by Dave M.
- Mother nature is a bitch
Addendum: and not an obedient one at that
Addendum by Paul Kekanovich
Murphy's laws origin
Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will") was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base.
It was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, (a project) designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash.
One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible and said, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it."
The contractor's project manager kept a list of "laws" and added this one, which he called Murphy's Law.
Actually, what he did was take an old law that had been around for years in a more basic form and give it a name.
Shortly afterwards, the Air Force doctor (Dr. John Paul Stapp) who rode a sled on the deceleration track to a stop, pulling 40 Gs, gave a press conference. He said that their good safety record on the project was due to a firm belief in Murphy's Law and in the necessity to try and circumvent it.
Aerospace manufacturers picked it up and used it widely in their ads during the next few months, and soon it was being quoted in many news and magazine articles. Murphy's Law was born.
The Northrop project manager, George E. Nichols, had a few laws of his own. Nichols' Fourth Law says, "Avoid any action with an unacceptable outcome."
The doctor, well-known Col. John P. Stapp, had a paradox: Stapp's Ironical Paradox, which says, "The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle."
Nichols is still around. At NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, he's the quality control manager for the Viking project to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars.
Access a comprehensive listing of Murphy's laws from this link: http://www.murphys-laws.com/