We’ve all heard of Murphy’s Law. It states that “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” I’ve never really believed it much–it seems too pessimistic to me. (Sometimes things actually go right!) But, there are some laws and theories that I do believe in, such as:
The Fuel Price Paradox: “If you fill your vehicle with fuel, the next morning the price per gallon will go down; however, if you wait until the next day to fuel, you will find that the price per gallon has gone up considerably.”
It’s disconcerting how often this happens. If I wait until tomorrow to fill up my tank, I’ll invariably find that the price has risen. But, if I top off my tank today, I’ll awake to see the price has dropped. I don’t know how to keep this from happening. I wonder if, as a public service, I should announce when I am going to fuel up, so everyone else can wait a few hours and get lower prices for themselves.
Another theory I am sure about is: The Busier Parent Postulate: “If a child has a question, and both parents are available, they will approach whichever parent is currently busier.” In my family, that usually means they’ll go to my wife. I’ll be staring at my phone, looking at something useless like a list of “20 Unknown Facts About ‘Gilligan’s Island,’”while my wife is busy doing some home work on her computer, and they’ll ignore me and interrupt her with some important question like, “Mom, can I have a banana?”
Unless, of course, my wife is playing games on her phone and I’m brushing my teeth, in which case I’m the one they’ll ask, “Dad, can you sign for my homework?”
This postulate is closely related to The Phone Call Contradiction, which states that: “Children will have absolutely nothing to say to you until you are on the phone trying to talk to someone else.”
And then there is The Obvious/Oblivious Paradigm: “When looking for something, it is most likely in one of the three most obvious places, even if those places have already been searched.” The other day my daughter was looking for a library book because she had to return it. I asked if she had checked in her backpack. She replied that she had. I told her to check it again. She said, “I’ve already looked there.” You’ll never guess where she eventually found it.
Needless to say, she had waited until two minutes before she needed to leave for the bus stop before she began searching for her missing book, because she had to adhere to The Procrastination Principle.”