Dr. Thomas Lane Butts: Murphy's Law

Almost everone has heard of Murphy's Law: "If any thing can go wrong, it will." One example of Murphy's miserable laws reads: "If you drop something heavy, it WILL land on your foot" And, "If you fiddle with something long enough, it will break." These are not literally universal laws of human existence, but there are days in which our experience leads us to believe so. You may be able to identify with the following story:

A young businessman was gone for a week, leaving his wife with three small children. It rained every day. Toward the end of the week, in desperation, she decided to take the children to the petting zoo. When she drove into the parking lot, it appeared that every other mother in town had the same idea. There was no available parking, but since she was driving a little red Volkswagen Bug, she was able to slip into a spot too small for other cars.

When she returned to the car, she discovered the entire front end of her Volkswagen had been smashed. While inquiring if anyone saw the accident, one of the guards explained that he had seen the whole thing. He said that an elephant which gives rides to children at the zoo used to be in a circus act in which it was trained to sit on a little red tub. Apparently, when the elephant walked by the little red Volkswagen, it brought back memories of the circus act, and he sat on the car!

Since the engine of a Volkswagen is in the rear, it did not prevent her driving the car home. Driving home on the freeway she came upon an accident where cars were backed up a long way. Once again, because of her small car, she was able to get on the shoulder of the road and drive past the wreck. No sooner had she gotten back on the freeway than she discovered she was being pursued by a police car with siren and blue lights going. The officer pulled her over and gave her a ticket for leaving the scene of an accident. She protested that she had not been involved in the accident, but had simply pulled around the cars. Then the officer asked, "How do you account for the smashed front end of your car?" Then she heard herself explaining that an elephant had sat on it. The officer then requested that she take a breath-analysis test for alcohol.

There are some days in which nothing seems to go right. A good test of maturity is how well we get past days like that. You have not been singled out. You are not being punished for some past sin, real or imagined. Days like this come now and then to everybody. Anger will not help. Patience and a sense of humor will.

How did you handle the most recent day like that in your life?