How well did you do identifying the eponymous laws from Part I of this series? Now try your hand at the rest of them:
Leap Year Corollary: Exceptions always outnumber rules.
Lemar’s Parking Postulate: If you have to park six blocks away, you will find two new parking spaces right in front of the building entrance.
Lerman’s Law of Technology: Any technical problem can be overcome given enough time and money. Lerman’s Corollary: You are never given enough time or money.
Levy’s Eighth Law: No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.
Lewis’s Law: People will buy anything that is one to a customer.
Lieberman’s Law: Everybody lies; but it doesn’t matter, since nobody listens.
Livingston’s Laws of Fat: 1. Fat expands to fill any apparel worn. 2. A fat person walks in the middle of the hall.
Loftus’s Fifth Law of Management: Some people manage by the book, even though they don’t know who wrote the book or even what book.
Loftus’s Theory on Personnel Recruitment: Far-away talent always seems better than home-developed talent.
Lord Balfour’s Contention: Nothing matters very much, and very few things matter at all.
Lovka’s Law of Driving: There is no traffic until you need to make a left turn.
Lowery’s Law: If it jams — force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
Lunsford’s Rule of Scientific Endeavor: The simple explanation always follows the complex solution.
Luposchainsky’s Hurry-Up-And-Wait Principle: If you’re early, it’ll be canceled. If you knock yourself out to be on time, you will have to wait. If you’re late, you will be too late.
Lynch’s Law: When the going gets tough, everybody leaves.
Maahs’s Law: Things go right so they can go wrong.
MacPherson’s Theory of Entropy: It requires less energy to take an object out of its proper place than to put it back.
Mae West’s Observation: To err is human, but it feels divine.
Malek’s Law: Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.
Mark’s Law of Monetary Equalization: A fool and your money are soon partners.
Mars’s Rule: An expert is anyone from out of town.
Maryann’s Law: You can always find what you’re not looking for.
Matilda’s Law of Sub-Committee Formation: If you leave the room, you’re elected.
Matsch’s Law: It’s better to have a horrible ending than to have horrors without end.
Matz’s Maxim: A conclusion is the place where you get tired of thinking.
Matz’s Warning: Beware of the physician who is great at getting out of trouble.
Mayne’s Law: Nobody notices the big errors.
McGowan’s Madison Avenue Axiom: If an item is advertised as “under $50,” you can bet it’s not $19.95.
McGregor’s Revised Maxim: The shortest distance between two points is under construction.
McKee’s Law: When you’re not in a hurry, the traffic light will turn green as soon as your vehicle comes to a complete stop.
McKernan’s Maxim: Those who are unable to learn from past meetings are condemned to repeat them.
Meadow’s Maxim: You can’t push on a rope.
Meyer’s Law: It is a simple task to make things complex, but a complex task to make them simple.
Meyers’s Law: In a social situation, that which is most difficult to do is usually the right thing to do.
Miles’ Law: Where you stand depends on where you sit.
Miller’s Maxim: In a surplus labor economy, the squeaking wheel does not get the grease; it gets replaced.
Milstead’s Christmas Card Rule: After you’ve mailed your last card, you will receive a card from someone you overlooked.
Milstead’s Driving Principle: Whenever you need to stop at a light to put on makeup, every light will be green.
Morgan’s Discovery: The average man is a little below average.
Morris’ Law of Conferences: The most interesting paper will be scheduled simultaneously with the second most interesting paper.
Morton’s Law: If rats are experimented upon, they will develop cancer.
Moser’s Law of Spectator Sports: Exciting plays occur only while you are watching the scoreboard or out buying a hot dog.
Mr. Cooper’s Law: If you do not understand a particular word in a piece of technical writing, ignore it. The piece will make perfect sense without it.
Mrs. Weiler’s Law: Anything is edible if it is chopped finely enough.
Muir’s Law: When we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
Munder’s Corollary: Everyone who does not work has a scheme that does.
Murphy Philosophy: Smile . . . tomorrow will be worse.
Murphy’s Advice: Don’t worry . . . nobody gives a hoot anyway.
Murphy’s Constant: Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.
Murphy’s First Corollary: Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
Murphy’s First Law for Husbands: If you run into an old girlfriend — no matter how innocently — your wife will know about it before you get home.
Murphy’s First Law for Wives: If you ask your husband to pick up five items at the store and then add one more as an afterthought, he’ll forget two of the first five.
Murphy’s First Law of Construction: Power tools will fail at the most inconvenient time possible.
Murphy’s Fourth Corollary: It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
Murphy’s Fourth Law for Husbands: Your wife’s stored possessions will always be on top of your stored possessions.
Murphy’s Fourth Law of the Kitchen: When the meal you are preparing is on schedule, the guests will be forty-five minutes late. Corollary: When the guests are on time, the meal will be forty-five minutes late.
Murphy’s Guide to Modern Science: 1. If it’s green or it wriggles, it’s biology. 2. If it stinks, it’s chemistry. 3. If it doesn’t work, it’s physics.
Murphy’s Law of Government: If anything can go wrong, it will do so in triplicate.
Murphy’s Law of Supply: If you don’t need it and don’t want it you can have tons of it.
Murphy’s Law of Thermodynamics: Things get worse under pressure.
Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong, it will.
Murphy’s Paradox: Doing it the hard way is always easier.
Murphy’s Saving Grace: The worst is the enemy of the bad.
Murphy’s Second Corollary: Every solution breeds new problems.
Murphy’s Second Law for Wives: The snapshots you take of your husband are always more flattering than the ones he takes of you.
Murphy’s Second Law of Construction: When taking something apart to fix a minor malfunction, you will cause a major malfunction.
Murphy’s Third Corollary: Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
Murphy’s Third Law for Husbands: The gifts you buy your wife are never as appropriate as the gifts your neighbor buys his wife.
Murphy’s Third Law for Wives: Whatever arrangement you make for the
division of household duties, your husband’s job will be easier.
Murphy’s Third Law of the Kitchen: The mixing bowl you need is always dirty.
Murray’s Laws: 1. Never ask a barber if you need a haircut. 2. Never ask a salesman if his price is a good one.
N-1 Law: If you need four screws for a job, the first three will be easy to find.
Newton’s Little-Known Seventh Law: A bird in the hand is safer than one overhead.
Nineteenth Hole Observation: The older I get, the better I used to be.
Ninety-Ninety Rule of Project Schedules: The first ninety percent of the task takes ten percent of the time; the last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.
Non-Reciprocal Laws of Expectations: Negative expectations yield negative results. Positive expectations yield negative results.
O’Brien’s Law: Nothing is ever done for the right reasons.
O’Brien’s Variation on Etorre’s Observation: If you change lines, the one you just left will start to move faster than the one you are now in.
O’Toole’s Commentary on Murphy’s law: Murphy was an optimist.
Oliver’s Law of Location: No matter where you go, there you are!
Olivier’s Law: Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
Owen’s Law for Secretaries: As soon as you sit down with a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something that will last until the coffee is cold.
Owen’s Theory of Organizational Deviance: Every organization has an allotted number of positions to be filled by misfits. Corollary: Once a misfit leaves, another will be recruited.
Pantuso’s First Law: The book you spent $14.95 for today will come out in paperback tomorrow.
Park’s Law of Insurance Rates and Taxes: Whatever goes us, stays up.
Parkinson’s Law for Medical Research: Successful research attracts the bigger grant which makes further research impossible.
Parkinson’s Law of Delay: Delay is the deadliest form of denial.
Parkinson’s Second Law: Expenditures rise to meet income.
Parson’s Law of Passports: No one is as ugly as their passport photo.
Party Law: The more food you prepare, the less your guests eat.
Patrick’s Theorem: If the experiment works, you must be using the wrong equipment.
Patry’s Law: If you know something can go wrong and take due precaution to prevent it, something else will go wrong.
Paul’s Law: You can’t fall off the floor.
Paulg’s Law: In America, it’s not how much an item costs, it’s how much you save.
Perkins’s Postulate: The bigger they are, the harder they hit.
Perlsweig’s Law: People who can least afford to pay rent have to. People who can most afford to pay rent build up equity.
Perlsweig’s Second Law: Whatever goes around, comes around.
Perrussel’s Law: There is no job so simple that it cannot be done wrong.
Pet Principle: No matter which side of the door the cat or dog is on, it’s the wrong side.
Pfeifer’s Principle: Never make a decision that you can get someone else to make.
Phillips’s Law: Four-wheel-drive just means getting stuck in more
Pineapple Principle: The best parts of anything are always impossible to remove from the worst parts.
Pitfalls of Genius: No boss will keep an employee who is right all the time.
Pope’s Law: Chipped dishes never break.
Post’s Managerial Observation: The inefficiency and stupidity of the staff correspond to the inefficiency and stupidity of the management.
Poulsen’s Prophesy: If anything is used to its full potential, it will break.
Price’s First Law: If everybody wants it, nobody gets it.
Priester’s Law of Desire: The more you want it, the quicker the letdown after you get it.
Principle Concerning Multifunctional Devices: The more functions a device is required to perform, the less effectively it can perform any individual function.
Principle of Design Inertia: Any change looks terrible at first.
Pudder’s Law: Anything that begins well, ends badly. Anything that begins badly, ends worse.
Quantization Revision of Murphy’s Law: Everything goes wrong all at once.
Queue Principle: The longer you wait in line, the greater the likelihood that you are standing in the wrong line.
Quile’s Consultation Law: The job that pays the most will be offered when there is no time to deliver the services.
Rap’s Law of Inanimate Reproduction: If you take something apart and put it back together enough times, eventually you will have two of them.
Ray’s Rueful Rumination: The world is full of surprises, very few of which are pleasant.
Rennie’s Law of Public Transit: If you start walking, the bus will come when you are precisely halfway between stops.
Revolutionary Law: The sloppier the rebel uniform, the more likely the overthrow of the existing government.
Reynold’s Law of Climatology: Wind velocity increases directly with the cost of the hairdo.
Ringwald’s Law of Household Geometry: Any horizontal surface is soon piled up.
Roberts’s Axiom: Only errors exist. Berman’s Corollary to Robert’s Axiom: One man’s error is another man’s data.
Robertson’s Law: Quality assurance doesn’t.
Rockefeller Principle: Never do anything you wouldn’t get caught dead doing.
Roger’s Law: As soon as the stewardess serves the coffee, the airliner encounters turbulence. Davis’s Explanation of Roger’s Law: Serving coffee on aircraft causes turbulence.
Roman Rule: The one who says it can’t be done shouldn’t interrupt the one doing it.
Rominger’s Rules for Students: 1. The more general the title of a course, the less you will learn from it. 2. The more specific a title is, the less you will be able to apply it.
Ruby’s Principle of Close Encounters: The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don’t want to be seen with.
Ruckert’s Law: There is nothing so small that it can’t be blown out of proportion.
Rudin’s Law: In crises that force people to choose among alternative courses of action, most people will choose the worst one possible.
Rudnicki’s Nobel Principle: Only someone who understands something absolutely can explain it so no one else can understand it.
Rudnicki’s Rule: That which cannot be taken apart will fall apart.
Rule of Failure: If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you have tried.
Rule of Feline Frustration: When your cat has fallen asleep on your lap and looks utterly content and adorable, you will suddenly have to go to the bathroom.
Rule of Law: 1. If the facts are against you, hammer the law. 2. If the law is against you, hammer the facts. 3. If the facts and the law are against you, hammer the table.
Rule of Political Promises: Truth varies.
Rule of Reason: If nobody uses it, there’s a reason.
Rule of the Great: When people you greatly admire appear to be thinking deep thoughts, they probably are thinking about lunch.
Rule of the Rally: The only way to make up for being lost is to make record time while you are lost.
Rush’s Rule of Gravity: When you drop change at a vending machine, the pennies will fall nearby, while all the other coins will roll out of sight.
Russ’ Law of Assembly: The one piece that holds the whole thing together will be missing.
Ryan’s Application of Parkinson’s Law: Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage.
Ryan’s Law: Make three correct guesses consecutively and you will establish yourself as an expert.
Sagan Fallacy: To say a human being is nothing but molecules and atoms is like saying a Shakespearean play is nothing but words and letters.
Salary Axiom: The pay raise is just large enough to increase your taxes and just small enough to have no effect on your take-home pay.
Sartre’s Observation: Hell is others.
Sattinger’s Law: It works better if you plug it in.
Sausage Principle: People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one being made.
Schmidt’s Law: If you mess with a thing long enough, it’ll break.
Schnatterly’s Summing Up of the Corollaries: If anything can’t go wrong, it will.
Schopenhauer’s Law of Entropy: If you put a spoonful of wine in a barrel full of sewage, you get sewage. If you put a spoonful of sewage in a barrel full of wine, you get sewage.
Schrimpton’s Law of Teenage Opportunity: When opportunity knocks, you’ve got headphones on.
Seay’s Law: Nothing ever comes out as planned.
Second Law for Freelance Artists: All rush jobs are due the same day.
Second Law of Applied Terror: The more studying you did for the exam, the less sure you are as to which answer they want.
Second Law of Business Meetings: If there are two possible ways to spell a person’s name, you will pick the wrong spelling.
Second Law of Class Scheduling: A prerequisite for a desired course will be offered only during the following semester.
Second Law of Computer Programming: The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
Second Law of Final Exams: In your toughest final — for the first time all year — the most distractingly attractive student in the class will sit next to you.
Second Law of Gardening: Fancy gizmos don’t work.
Second Law of Holes: If a boss digs himself into a hole, all subordinates are expected to jump in with him.
Third Law of Holes: If a subordinate digs a hole, never expect the boss to jump in with him.
Second Law of Kitchen Confusion: Once a dish is fouled up, anything added to save it only makes it worse.
Second Law of Office Murphology: Office machines that function perfectly during normal business hours will break down when you return at night to use them for personal business.
Second Principle for Patients: The more boring and out-of-date the magazines in the waiting room, the longer you will have to wait for your scheduled appointment.
Second Rule of Environmental Protection: The most efficient way to dispose of toxic waste is to reclassify the waste as nontoxic.
Seeger’s Law: Anything in parentheses can be ignored.
Segal’s Law: A man with one watch knows the time. A man with two is never sure.
Seits’s Law of Higher Education: The one course you must take to graduate will not be offered during your last semester.
Sevareid’s Law: The chief cause of problems is solutions.
Shakespeare’s Law: Where love is great, the littlest doubts cause fear.
Shapiro’s Law of Reward: The one who does the least work will get the most credit.
Shirley’s Law: Most people deserve each other.
Siddhartha Principle: You cannot cross a river in two strides.
Silver’s Law of Doctoring: It never heals correctly.
Silverman’s Paradox: If Murphy’s Law can go wrong, it will.
Simon’s Law of Destiny: Glory may be fleeting, but obscurity is forever.
Simon’s Law: Everything put together falls apart sooner or later.
Sintetos’s First Law of Consumerism: A 60-day warranty guarantees that the product will self-destruct on the 61st day.
Sir Walter’s Law: The tendency of smoke from a cigarette, barbeque, campfire, etc., to drift into a person’s face varies directly with that person’s sensitivity to smoke.
Skoff’s Law: A child will not spill on a dirty floor.
Smiths’s Law: No real problem has a solution.
Snafu Equation: The bit of information most needed is least available.
Snider’s Law: Nothing can be done in one trip.
Sociology’s Iron Law of Oligarchy: In every organized activity a small number of participants will become the oligarchical leaders and the others will follow.
Sodd’s Second Law: Sooner or later, the worst possible set of circumstances is bound to occur.
Soper’s Law: Any bureaucracy reorganized to enhance efficiency is immediately indistinguishable from its predecessor.
Souder’s Law: Repetition does not establish validity.
Spare Parts Principle: The accessibility, during recovery, of small parts which fall from the workbench, varies directly with the size of the part, and inversely with its importance to the completion of the work underway.
Spark’s First Rule for Managers: Strive to look tremendously important.
Spark’s Second Rule for Managers: Attempt to be seen with important people.
Spark’s Third Rule for Managers: Speak with authority; however, expound
only on the obvious and proven facts.
Special Law: The workbench is always untidier than last time.
Spencer’s Laws of Accountancy: 1. Trial balances don’t. 2. Working capital doesn’t. 3. Liquidity tends to run out. 4. Return on investments won’t.
Spencer’s Laws of Data: 1. Anyone can make a decision given enough facts. 2. A good manager can make a decision without enough facts. 3. A perfect manager can operate in perfect ignorance.
Steele’s Plagiarism of Somebody’s Philosophy: Everybody should believe in something — I believe I’ll have another drink.
Steinbach’s Guideline for Systems Programming: Never test for an error condition you don’t know how to handle.
Steiner’s Maxim: The fact that you do not know the answer does not mean that someone else does.
Stenderup’s Law: The sooner you fall behind, the more time you will have to catch up.
Stewart’s Law of Retroaction: It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
Stitzer’s Vacation Principle: When packing for a vacation, take half as much clothing and twice as much money.
Stockmayer’s Theorem: If it looks easy, it’s tough. If it looks tough, it’s damn well impossible.
Strano’s Law: When all else fails, try the boss’s suggestion.
Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crud.
Sutin’s Second Law: The most useless computer tasks are the most fun to do.
Sweeney’s Law: The length of a progress report is inversely proportional to the amount of progress.
Swipple’s Rule of Order: He who shouts loudest has the floor.
Taylor’s Law of Tailoring: No matter how many alterations, cheap pants never fit.
Tenenbaum’s Law of Replicability: The most interesting results happen only once.
Terman’s Law of Innovation: If you want a track team to win the high jump, you find one person who can jump seven feet, not seven people who can jump one foot.
Thal’s Law: For every vision, there is an equal and opposite revision.
Theory of Selective Supervision: The one time during the day you lean back and relax is the one time the boss walks by.
Thiessen’s Law of Gastronomy: The hardness of the butter is in direct proportion to the softness of the roll.
Thine’s Law: Nature abhors people.
Third Law for Freelance Artists: The rush job you spent all night on won’t be needed for at least two days.
Third Law of Committo-Dynamics: Those most opposed to serving on committees are made chairmen.
Third Law of Kitchen Confusion: You are always complimented on the item that took the least effort to prepare. Example: If you make roast turkey, you will be complimented on the baked potato.
Thom’s Law of Marital Bliss: The length of the marriage is inversely proportional to the cost of the wedding.
Thompson’s First Law of Political Science: If a liberal takes an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution,” it’s a safe bet that he will lie about everything else.
Thompson’s Law of Lineage: You never have to ask if someone is Scottish. If they are, they’ll find a way of letting you know, and if they’re not, there’s no sense embarrassing them by making them admit it.
Tillinger’s Rule: Moderation in all things, including moderation.
Tillis’s Organizational Principle: If you file it, you’ll know where it is but never need it. If you don’t file it, you’ll need it but never know where it is.
Todd’s First Two Political Principles: 1. No matter what they’re telling you, they’re not telling you the whole truth. 2. No matter what they’re talking about, they’re talking about money.
Tracey’s Time Observation: Good times end too quickly. Bad times go on forever.
Trischmann’s Paradox: A pipe gives a wise man time to think and a fool something to stick in his mouth.
Troutman’s Sixth Programming Postulate: Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.
Truman’s Law: If you cannot convince them, confuse them.
Tupper’s Political Postulate: He who walks astride the fence has few directions from which to choose.
Tussman’s Law: Nothing is as inevitable as a mistake whose time has come.
Tylczak’s Probability Postulate: Random events tend to occur in groups.
Ultimate Principle: By definition, when you are investigating the unknown you do not know what you will find.
Unapplicable Law: Washing your car to make it rain doesn’t work.
Universal Equine Equation: At any particular time, there are more horses’ asses in the world than horses.
Unspeakable Law: As soon as you mention something . . . if it’s good, it goes away. . . if it’s bad, it happens.
Van Gogh’s Law: Whatever plan one makes, there is a hidden difficulty somewhere.
Van Oech’s Law: An expert really doesn’t know any more than you do. He is merely better organized and has slides.
Vile’s Law of Communication: No one is listening until you make a mistake.
Vile’s Law of Roadmanship: Your own car uses more gas and oil than anyone else’s.
Vile’s Law of Value: The more an item costs, the farther you have to send it for repairs.
Wagner’s Law of Sports Coverage: When the camera focuses on a male athlete he will spit, pick or scratch.
Wallace’s Observation: Everything is in a state of utter dishevelment.
Walton’s Law of Politics: A fool and his money are soon elected.
Warren’s Rule: To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.
Washlesky’s Law: Anything is easier to take apart than to put together.
Watergate Principle: Government corruption is always reported in the past
Weber’s Definition: An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.
Weiler’s Law: Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.
Weinberg’s First Law: Progress is made on alternate Fridays.
Weinberg’s Second Law: If builders built buildings the way programmers write programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
Welwood’s Axiom: Disorder expands proportionately to the tolerance for it.
Westheimer’s Rule: To estimate the time it takes to do a task, estimate the time you think it should take, multiply by two, and change the unit of measure to the next highest unit. Thus, we allocate two days for a one-hour task.
Wethern’s Law of Suspended Judgement: Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.
Whistler’s Law: You never know who’s right, but you always know who’s in charge.
White’s Chappaquiddick Theorem: the sooner and in more detail you announce the bad news, the better.
Wiker’s Law: Government expands to absorb revenue and then some.
Willoughby’s Law: When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will.
Winfield’s Dictum of Direction Giving: The possibility of getting lost is directly proportional to the number of times the direction-giver says “you can’t miss it.”
Witten’s Law: Whenever you cut your fingernails you will find a need for them an hour later.
Witzling’s Law of Progeny Performance: Any child who chatters nonstop at home will adamantly refuse to utter a word when requested to demonstrate for an audience.
Wolter’s Law: If you have the time, you won’t have the money. If you have the money, you won’t have the time.
Wood’s Axiom: As soon as a still-to-be-finished computer task becomes a life-or-death situation, the power fails.
Woodside’s Grocery Principle: The bag that breaks is the one with the eggs.
Worker’s Dilemma: 1. No matter how much you do, you’ll never do enough. 2. What you don’t do is always more important than what you do do.
Working Cook’s Laws: 1. If you’re wondering if you took the meat out to thaw, you didn’t. 2. If you’re wondering if you left the coffee pot plugged in, you did.
Wright’s First Law of Quality: Quality is inversely proportional to the time left for the completion of the project.
Wyszkowski’s First Law: No experiment is reproducible.
Wyszkowski’s Second Law: Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough.
Yeager’s Law: Washing machines only break down during the wash cycle. Corollary: All breakdowns occur on the plumber’s day off.
Young’s Law of Inanimate Mobility: All inanimate objects can move just enough to get in your way.
Young’s Law: All great discoveries are made by mistake.
Young’s Principle on Emergent Individuation: Everybody wants to peel his own banana.
Yount’s Law of Mail Ordering: The most important item in an order will no longer be available.
Zadra’s Law of Biomechanics: The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
Zappa’s Law: There are two things on earth that are universal, hydrogen and stupidity.
Zeek’s Discovery: The key to flexibility is indecision.
Zelman’s Rule of Radio Reception: Your pocket radio won’t pick up the station you want to hear most.
Zymurgy’s First Law of Evolving System Dynamics: Once you open a can of worms, the only way you can re-can them is to use a larger can.
Zymurgy’s Law of Volunteer Labor: People are always available for work in the past sense.
Zymurgy’s Seventh Exception to Murphy’s Law: When it rains, it pours.