When life goes well, little is made of it
MUSINGS BY TAJAMUL HUSSAIN
NATURE always sides with the hidden flaw. SNAFU (Situation Normal: All fouled up…the softer version) means that the normal situation is in a Bad State, as it always is, and therefore nothing is unexpected. It also sometimes refers to a bad situation, mistake, or cause of trouble. No good deed goes unpunished. But then we usually complain, why it happens with us most of the times. Sod’s Law, the name for the axiom “anything that can go wrong, will” can be best understood from the example of the action that “toast will always land butter side down”. The colloquialism “unlucky sod”, similar to some definitions of irony, particularly the irony of fate, describes someone who is confronted with some bad, unlucky experience, and is usually used as a sympathetic reference to the person. It includes the loss of hearing as misfortune for anyone, but by virtue of the Sod’s Law it would happen to a brilliant composer. Example of “good fortune, however, occurs when you take your raincoat and umbrella with you and it happens to be sunny.
When there is a very long road upon which there is a narrow one-way bridge placed at random, and there are only two cars on that road, it follows that the two cars are going in opposite directions, and they will always meet at the bridge. Imagine another situation; you’re sitting in four lanes of bumper-to-bumper traffic. You’re more than ready to get home, but you notice, to your great dismay, that all of the other lanes seem to be moving. You change lanes. But once you do, the cars in your new lane come to a dead halt. At a standstill, you notice every lane on the highway, including the one you just left, are moving -- except yours. You are God fearing and do not like to harm any one. But then you suffer for something you have nothing to do with. The scandalous fellow in the neighbourhood enjoys all the comforts and luxuries on earth. We tend to dismiss the perceived perversity of the universe either as test from God (aazmaaish) or your bad luck or your stupidity or something that is simply beyond your control.
The list of perceived perversities of the universe is long. When leaving work early, you will meet your boss in the parking lot; after your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch. When attempting to open a locked door with only one hand free, the key will be in the opposite pocket; a clean tie would always attract the soup of the day. The child who begs to sleep late on school days will be up before dawn on the weekends; birthday parties always end in tears. Whenever you decide to take the kids home, it is always five minutes earlier that they break into fights, tears, or hysteria. No matter how well you perform your job, a superior will seek to modify the results; nobody notices when things go right. No matter how early you arrive, someone else is in line first; anything that begins badly ends worse. When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will; traffic congestion increases in proportion to the length of time the street is supervised by a traffic control officer. Chipped dishes never break; if you file it, you’ll know where it is but never need it; if you don’t file it, you’ll need it but never know where it is. When the meal you are preparing is on schedule, the guests will be 45 minutes late; when the guests are on time, the meal will be 45 minutes late and; a child will not spill on a dirty floor. Bare feet magnetize sharp metal objects so they always point upward from the floor -- especially in the dark. The more a recruit knows about a given subject, the better chance he has of being assigned to something else. You can throw a burnt match out the window of your car and start a forest fire, but you can use two boxes of matches and a whole edition of the Sunday paper without being able to start a fire under the dry logs in your fireplace.
In the aggravating world of Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. And it may just be right. This isn’t because of some mysterious power the law possesses. When life goes well, little is made of it. After all, we expect that things should work out in our favor. But when things go badly, we look for reasons. How many times do we reach a destination and think, “I walk really well”? But when we trip over a kerb and skin our knees, it’s a pretty good bet we wonder why this had to happen to us. Perhaps the best explanation for our attraction to Murphy’s Law is an underlying sense of fatalism, the idea that we’re all powerless to the whims of fate. This notion says that the things that happen to us are unavoidable. It’s the idea that there’s some kind of universal law at work that takes a certain pleasure at toying with us. Fatalism contradicts free will. On the one hand, Murphy’s Law reveals to us our own undeniable stupidity. If given a chance to do something wrong, we’ll do so around half of the time; but that comes from our own choices. On the other hand, Murphy’s Law also reveals to us our lack of control, as in the case of always seeming to be stuck in the slowest lane of traffic.
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Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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