Thursday, April 19, 2012

Murphy's Laaw

RHYS BOWEN: Yesterday I returned, dripping wet from the shower, to my locker at the gym and found I couldn't reach it because the next locker was open and a woman was busy getting dressed. We were the only two people in the locker room. "Oh, do you want to get in here?" she asked. "Sorry. It's always the way, isn't it? Murphy's Law."

I've been thinking a lot about Murphy's Law recently for several reasons. The first being a good one, that the popularity of my book by this name has surged after the publication of HUSH NOW, DON'T YOU CRY. I wrote it in 2001, the first in a new series, so it's great to see in on bestseller lists again.

Of course I titled my book that because my heroine's name is Molly Murphy and she was desperately seeking justice, but I have to confess that Murphy's Law, in its true sense of IF SOMETHING CAN GO WRONG, IT WILL, rears its ugly head quite often in my life. And not just "If there are only two people in a locker room, they will inevitably have next door lockers."

If you're observant you'll notice that I misspelled the title. That was because of another Murphy's Law: if you come home thirsty, craving an orange, you won't notice that someone has sharpened the knives until you slice through your finger and can't type!

More desperate cases are, "If you wear white, you will be served spaghetti in a red sauce and it will drip down your front."
"If you only bring one pair of black pants, you will spill coffee down them."
"If there's one person in the room you can't stand, you will be seated next to them at dinner."

So now I'm throwing this open: Let's hear your versions of Murphy's Law!

If it's deee-licious then it's loaded with calories.
If I didn't bring an umbrella then it's going to rain.
If someone reads my book, they will find the typo that eluded me.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: At any given cocktail party/BBq/coffee hour, the one person who is most keen to talk with you will be the one person whose name you cannot remember. (Bonus point: your spouse will be across the room so you can't ask him.)

The fabulous clothes sales rack (like you used to find at Filene's Basement, sigh) will have two copies of the designer piece you desperately want. One will be too large for you, and the other will be too small.

The more deadly dull the school talent show, the later your kid will appear on the program.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, YES, Julia, the person you most do not want to see will be right there. There is also a "boss" corollary to this..which includes certain elevator encounters on the days you try to sneak out early.

When you need change, you don't have any. When you don't need change, you have so much your purse could be a weightlifting implement.

When you want to open your car door in the grocery parking lot, either a person will pull in right next to you so you can't or someone will be opening their car door at exactly the same time. (Hmm..I guess this is the corollary to Rhys's lockers.)

ROSEMARY HARRIS: If you run out for one brief errand and don't even put on a swipe of lipstick or fix your hair, you will bump into five people you know.

If you don't bring business cards, someone you'd really like to connect with meet will ask you for one.

The candid picture of you will be taken when your eyes are half-closed and your mouth mid-guffaw.

I think I'll stop here...

LUCY BURDETTE: If you're on the road and the dog seems anxious, so you let him ride in the car to the restaurant and wait there while you eat, he will throw up on your seat by the time you return.

If you purchase a new item of furniture, it will become the cat's favorite scratching post.

DEBORAH CROMBIE: If you have a really big event/book tour/TV appearance--anything that has been scheduled for a long time and absolutely CANNOT be missed, you will wake up with the flu on the morning.

If you are the tiniest bit late for a flight or an important appointment, you will run into the traffic jam from hell.

And how could anyone forget that classic:  If you wash your car, it will rain.

JAN BROGAN: As you live your life, you will confront Murphy's Law. If you are trying to think of an example, it will elude you. (especially if your blog sisters have already done such a good job.

RHYS: I have to confess that all of the above have happened to me. How about you? Who'd like to share their own Murphy's Law experiences?


  1. If you stay up late (finishing a book...), the kids will wake up early!

  2. Laughed reading Lucy's... made me think:
    If you strap your dog to the roof of the car, he will throw up.

  3. Good one, Hallie.

    There is a flip side to Murphy's: If you do carry an umbrella, it won't rain. If you do have your business cards with you, you won't see anyone to give them to.

    And then, if you have every potential maintenance thing done in preparation for your high school reunion, that old flame you'd love to see won't show up. :-)

  4. Oh, Rhys, congratulations on the resuscitation MURPHY'S LAW has undergone riding the coattails of your newest! That's of course, a sign that all those people will shortly be buying the rest of the books in the series. Whenever I encounter a new author I love, I must get their first book and go through the whole series.

    Been dealing a lot with Murphy's Law lately. If you're a poet with some reputation in your city and you publish a novel, the novel will launch right smack in the midst of National Poetry Month, and everyone will be disappointed in you because you can't do all the poetry things you usually do.

    If you get dressed in black pants for an event, the dog will immediately rub himself all over them in an ecstasy of affection.

  5. Linda, one thing you'll find as a writer is that you'll never please all of the people all of the time!
    And the doghair on pants thing... done that too!

  6. I've often experienced a supercharged version of Murphy's Law: "If two things can go wrong, the one that will go wrong is whichever one you're least prepared for. If you're prepared for both, the more expensive or inconvenient one will go wrong."

    And, of course, Murphy's Law is recursive, so washing your car will make it rain - but only if you don't want it to rain!

  7. Dog and cat hair are my specialty!

    Lately it's been about social engagements. The good friend who NEVER throws parties, is finally throwing one--on the one weekend I'll be out of town.

    And, the good friends who are in town for a visit and want to get the old gang together on Saturday night--but I can't go because of a friend's 50th birthday party.

  8. Lucy, I'm cringing at yours -- our new furniture is on its way!( But with the good weather, the cat will be outside more, so a short reprieve, I hope -- so far, he's been oblivious to repellants.)

    And Jan, love yours!

    (The captcha form now says "Please prove you're not a robot. OH-kay.)

  9. OH, and Rhys..I Do LOVE that there's a typo in the title...xoo

    I think if you strap a dog to the roof of your car..your standings in the polls will fall.

  10. Take an umbrella to the hair salon with you. You will need it. Even in a drought. Trust me on this. And it will not rain again until your next appointment.

    You work for a city. The mayor invites all employees to a Holiday reception in the lobby of the building where his office suite is located. You forget to wear festive clothing (all your coworkers look lovely in red and green) but that turns out to be okay -because just before leaving for the reception you experience a toner "explosion"with your printer. Black toner all over your pretty pink sweater. You grab your coat on the way to the reception and you keep it on the entire time. The mayor mingles and eventually graciously greets each person. Seeing that you have never removed your coat, he says "this lobby IS cold,isn't it?"

    Finally - I have too recent experience with this one: if you stop at the restroom on the way back from your lunch time walk,it is NOT a good idea to stuff your sunglasses into a shallow pocket while you use the toilet,unless you are very careful when you get up.

    Okay,must get back to my desk.

  11. The day after you buy stock you've been watching for weeks the price will go down.

    Conversely, the day after you sell some, the price will increase in an unprecedented 30%.

  12. Okay, I jinxed myself. Getting in the car to go to the airport this morning, I immediately spilled my drinkable yogurt in my lap. Fortunately I was NOT wearing the outfit for this afternoon's book event... and the yogurt was vanilla and not strawberry.

  13. Rhys, I love these! What a fun lift to the day!

    Easy one for me, today, because this just happened. If I go to the store to practice a new servy-dog skill with Kendall, like have him get a loaf of bread from the shelf and place it in the grocery cart, alarms will go off. The manager will get on the loudspeaker and announce, "Help needed in the bakery-- bread aisle!" Everyone in the entire shopping center will converge on our little spot in the universe to do it for him.

    If Kendall can't reach the loaf of bread I want, no one sees us. On the rare occasion someone does see us in this condition, they will demand to know: Is he allowed in the store. Does he have credentials. Are they real. Where is Power Paws of Scottsdale. How often do I bathe him. What is wrong with me. Have I been this way since birth. How did I get to the store. Don't I know dogs have rights, too. Does the doctor let him in his office. [Yes, she does. And she makes organic homemade treats for him.] Why do you need a special parking space if you don't drive? Doesn't he have to wear a special vest... um.

  14. Mine's a variation on Deborah's...if you have a really packed day, full of things you absolutely can't miss, one of the kids will get sick. This happens to me all the time, to the point where, if I do have one of these days, I start making back-up plans.

    The one field trip that you get out of work for/or the kids WANT you to go to, is the one thing you absolutely can't stand doing, i.e. The MUD walk...euw, gross.