Thoughts on “Murphy’s Law”

Just shy of a year ago, i began to daily post an entry of “Murphy’s Law” desk calendar on my Facebook page. Many folks have told me, either on Facebook, through a message, or personally how much they enjoy reading them.

To begin this year, i will be posting them here until i run out. i don’t know when i will run out, but i not planning to repeat the process when i’ve gone through the archives.

How did all of this get started? i told this story when i began the daily entry. But it’s worth telling again. It began in Hong Kong, 1979. Actually, it was several weeks earlier back on Greenwich Avenue in Red Bank, a suburb of Chattanooga, Tennessee. That’s when my Uncle Pipey Orr and my Aunt Evelyn Prichard Orr found the “Murphy’s Law” desk calendar, purchased it, wrapped it, and sent it to me as a Christmas present. Perfect.

The new gift arrived aboard USS Tripoli (LPH 10), the flagship for  Commander, Amphibious Squadron Five and delivered to the Current Operations Officer, aka me, at the Fleet Landing, Hong Kong Bay. i was delighted when i opened it and on the first day of January 1980, i read “Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Of course, i had heard the law before and thought it was funny, and often true, especially in a bureaucracy like the Navy’s. On the second day, found another law and laughed out loud. By the end of the week, i decided i should share them and did so with Mike Peck, a P3 pilot and the Tactical Air Control Squadron officer assigned to the staff for the deployment, and with Pete Toennies, the UDT officer also assigned temporarily to the staff.

The three of us had become close and shared many escapades together on our Hong Kong liberty (more stories). We also had developed a strategy for the daily “message meetings” the commodore held each workday morning in the staff wardroom. During those meetings, the commodore, Captain Jim McIntyre with the handle of “Silver Fox,” sat at the head of the table.

Ops, Commander John Collins, my boss, sat to the commodore’s right, and began meetings with a review of what had happened, the previous day including radio messages, a preview of important events concerning the squadron, and being a rather bombastic self-promoter some stories about what he had done.

The meeting continued with the staff member to the right of Collins reporting on his area of expertise and what he thought was important. This continued around the table until it reached the Chief of Staff, xxxx, who sat to the immediate left of the commodore. Then, McIntyre would make any necessary decisions and comment on what he felt was pertinent to the staff. Mike and i realized early on if we sat next to the chief of staff by the time everyone else had their say and it was our time, there was nothing to say because someone else had already briefed everything. So we just passed our turn to the chief of staff.

Sometime in the next week or so, we decided we should say something. That something was the daily entry from the “Murphy’s Law” desk calendar. Our comments were well received by the chief of staff and the commodore, although i think my boss had a cooler reaction.

Soon, Mike, Pete, and i realized the daily “laws” were not only funny, nearly all had a good point to think about. Not knowing if i would get another calendar the next Christmas, i decided to save them. i began to scotch tape them on the covers of my appointment books and spiral notebooks. What you have been reading on Facebook and now here are from those old calendars and notebooks — Yeh, i saved the daily notes and the calendars and notebooks: i thought i might write about those events someday .

Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Pipey Orr sent me another desk calendar the next Christmas. They continued the annual gift. Aunt Evelyn sent them until she fell ill in her last years. Then, she had my cousin Nancy send them for her. After she passed away, i began buying my  own and wrapping it with the note it was from Santa. i kept that up and added daughters and a few other people as recipients over the year.

When i went to order my gifts last year, i discovered they quit making them. ne of those calendars as a Christmas gift in 1979 while i was deployed to WESTPAC. They sent me one every year until my cousin, Nancy Schwarze, sent them while her mother still was alive. When my aunt passed, i began to get my own calendar and wrap it “from Santa” every Christmas until this past Christmas when they quit publishing the annual desk calendar. Thirty-eight years and they run out of laws. Go figure.

Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Pipey were successful in their careers as a teacher and psychology tester (Aunt Evelyn) and an engineer for TVA. They were also highly respected in their community and their church. And everyone in their family, their nephew especially, loved them beyond words. So every time i post a “law,” i think of these two wonderful people.

And to institutionalize them, more or less, i will now be posting them here with a link to them on Facebook…until i run out.

Today’s law:

“The Army Axiom: Anything that can be understood has been misunderstood.”

Goofy guy’s expansion of the Army Axiom: This is true in any organization of more than one person, not just the army.


1 thought on “Thoughts on “Murphy’s Law”

  1. Ray Boggs was also an avid fan of Murphy’s Law and every year we always knew we were assured of at least one perfect gift. It’s a lot of fun taking a stroll down memory lane with you. Bless

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