You woke up 20 minutes late this morning. Racing through breakfast, you spilled black tea on your school uniform. Your mother saw this and got angry at you. The beautiful weather turned to rain while you were on your way to school—without an umbrella. When you arrived, your teacher announced a surprise quiz in math, your worst subject.
Sound familiar? If so, you may be living Murphy's law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
Chances are you've heard some version of Murphy's law somewhere. You may even have applied it to your own life at a time when nothing seemed to go right. Or you may have applied it to someone else's life. Do you have a friend who always gets terrible marks, can't play any sport, and looks funny with any haircut? If so, you've probably thought or said, "If there's any way to do it wrong, he or she will." Call this Murphy's law in the third person.
But the law isn't always negative. An early version states that "Whatever can happen will happen," which sounds pretty optimistic if you're feeling good. And "Anything that can go wrong probably will" is a useful reminder to think of all possibilities before starting a task. Of course, it's also a handy excuse if you mess up that task!
Just where Murphy's law comes from is a mystery, but there's nothing mysterious about a bad day. Especially when you know how to describe it.