The following article was excerpted from The Desert Wings March 3, 1978
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. And do you know how Mr. Murphy died? One dark evening (in the U.S.), Mr. Murphy's car ran out of gas. As he hitchhiked to a gas station, while facing traffic and wearing white, he was struck from behind by a British tourist who was driving on the wrong side of the road.
The original name for 'if anything can go wrong it will' was sod's law because it would happen to any poor sod who needed such a catastrophic event the least. [The British coined the term sod to mean "bugger" - the poor sod.] It also removes the ability to say "I coined this phrase!" because sod's law has been around long before any living man and has existed in many forms for hundreds of years. So it goes, the worst always happens to the people who have the been trodden upon and have enough on their plate of life already.
The right thing to do is not to feel sorry for myself as my good friend Katie always reminds me, "Whenever you think you have it bad, remember somebody else has it worse." I think of the mothers who have sons or daughters on death row and that makes me appreciate my minor problem. I think of this often also when the news tells the story about the next inmate that is to be executed at the local Federal Prison in Starke. When I was a furniture salesperson I sold a lazy boy chair to the man who cooks their last meal. The irony of selling a nice comfortable best-in-the-recliner-series chair to a person who feeds the person who has to die in the worst-in-the-world electric chair is mind-boggling. He told me most inmates want a special type of ice cream and a nice steak dinner.
I wonder if their victim had gotten that choice to have a nice meal prior to their death. I never believed in the death penalty until my cousin was murdered. She was twenty-one, a bible college graduate and the sweetest person I knew. When others in my family doubted my plans in life, she understood my goals and supported me. She was four months pregnant, and had just went to bed after kissing her husband good night. Two acquaintances bust into the front door with rifles and shot her husband at the table. She woke up and came into the kitchen and they chased her down the stairs into the basement. As she curled up with her hands over her head asking them not to shoot her because she was with child, the gunman shot her in the head. I believe an eye-for-an-eye is appropriate in this case. I still feel for his parents and feel guilty for feeling this way. Which is worse, dying at the hand of the state or thinking about it for years in a four walled cell?
Like I said I need to remember these others who have it worse and pray that they plead mercy on their own souls. I think what's more cruel than what happened to their victims is the cruelty that they inflicted on the parents. Mercy Mercy Me. The mothers and fathers of the victims and the mothers and the fathers of the murderers have a better understanding of Murphy's law than I do. I'm happy to wait to fix my tooth.
The only thing worse than being blind is not having vision. ~ Helen Keller