Top Ten Things Not to Do According to Murphy’s Law


The inspiration for this list was thinking of all the things we do on a daily basis that someone else has done before. This naturally brought up the idea of mistakes and how often they are repeated down through history. Then the thought turned to specific laws governing natural phenomena. An example would be Newton’s law of gravity. “What goes up, Must come down,” was inspired by an apple falling on Newton’s head. (or so the story goes.) Finally turning to other laws prompted the inspection of certain laws and most specifically Murphy’s. The law, “What can go wrong will.” After all, some of the laws of science way too boring for this kind of blog. I hope you enjoy.

10 According to Murphy’s Law do not drop a much-needed and irreplaceable hex screw being installed in your current project. If you do, at best it will roll under the bench. At worst it will drop into a drain opening never to be seen again. (Might as well buy another widget for $300.00, Etienne. You’ll never be able to buy a replacement screw that would be ten cents if available.)

9 According to Murphy’s Law, do not buy that horse. If you do, at best you love it forever. At worst, you’ll want to sell it, and there are no buyers. (The sad part, Emeril, is it will outlive you.)

8 According to Murphy’s Law, do not pick a fight with Tiny the WWF champ. If you do, at best Tiny has achieved a new state of Nirvana and will bless you. At worst, you have to come to grips with the fact you are no Bruce Lee. (Looks like those running shoes will get another great workout today, Ellison. You go boy.)

7 According to Murphy’s Law, do not handle that expensive crystal vase. If you do, at best you catch it before it hits the floor. At worst, before you can even think of an excuse, you hear, “What was that breaking sound?” (You should have memorized Murphy’s constant, Eduard. “Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.”)

6 According to Murphy’s Law, do not park your car on the street. If you do, at best you ‘ll only have bird dropping problems. At worst, that Russian Satellite reentering the Earth’s atmosphere conveniently has your car coordinates as a landing site. (You could never imagine this happening, Earvin. That piece of space junk was supposed to burn up. Murphy’s law of falling object had this covered with “A falling object will always land where it can do the most damage.”)

5 According to Murphy’s Law, do not try to paint a room without an adequate cover on the carpet. If you do, at best you’ll catch every drip. At worst, you’ll only discover the dried paint drips after being pointed out by the person who told you to use an adequate cover.  (Good luck, Emil at the carpet store and that overnight arrangement in the spare room.)

4 According to Murphy’s Law, do not be careless with that expensive power tool while on a twelve-foot ladder. If you do, at best when it falls the cord will hook on something and prevent ground contact. At worst, you’ll be working over concrete, and the cord does not hook to prevent ground contact. (So father’s day will be here before you know it, Edmond. Of course, maybe the family is tired of replacing expensive power tools.)

3 According to Murphy’s Law, do not think because you are late you can make up time on the freeway. If you do, at best there will be light traffic. At worst, that eighteen wheeler turned over, blocking all lanes is just ahead —after you enter the freeway. (Well now, Eachan. You might as well turn off the car and relax. The traffic central says the police need to investigate before moving anything. That job interview can be rescheduled. Aw, too bad your phone is dead and you forgot your charging cord.)

2 According to Murphy’s Law, do not try to explain the now quiet noise in your car’s engine to the mechanic. If you do, at best you will cause more confusion. At worst, your mechanic will replace the most expensive element of your engine using your noise as justification. (You are not surprised that the noise returns after you get a block from the mechanic’s garage are you, Eagan?)

1 According to Murphy’s Law, do not try to tear that paper towel with one hand. If you do, at best you’ll end up with shreds. At worst, that spill that you are trying to contain will have seeped onto the floor to form a permanent stain in the wood. (I guess you should have known, Eamonn that according to Murphy’s law paper is strongest at the perforation.)


  1. Gwen Plano · ·

    Great list, John. I howled at #5 and #1; they were a little too familiar. Have a great Monday. 😀

    1. Thank you, Gwen. I had a number one experience yesterday. Puppy in one hand. Not a good situation. Thank you. Have a great Monday as well. 😀

  2. The way my life goes sometimes, I think I AM Murphy!! I know I end up with the entire roll of paper towels rolling out on the counter and onto the floor. My former carpet had its fair share of paint drippings and my car mechanic is about ready to commit me. That picture you have of the man and piano – that has GOT to me!!

    1. Ha ha ha. Makes you not want to look up. You left me laughing, GP. Thanks. 😀

  3. Very funny, John! I confess to #1.🤭

    1. Ha ha ha. I just did that yesterday. Had a puppy in one hand trying to tear a towel with the other. I actually dropped the roll and of course it unrolled to the other side of the room. Thanks, Jill.

  4. I’m guessing Murphy simply wanted us to stay in bed with no plan. Though, even that could go wrong.

    1. And probably did given the notoriety he achieved. 😀

  5. Very good list, John, but you’re hitting way to close to home with some of them. At least I haven’t bought a horse.

    1. You are one step ahead of me then. I’ve had four. No, they are not part of my team any more. They are making others poor.

      1. “1,200 pound dogs that don’t play catch…”

        That’s what a friend whose wife owned three horses said when I asked him what horses were really like.

      2. That is a good description with the adder that their upkeep is another house payment.

      3. I know right. For example $200 dollar aluminum horseshoes every six weeks

    1. Wonderful of you Chris. Thanks.

      1. Welcome, John 👍😃

  6. Ha! Great list, John — and the picture is perfect. The idea of Tiny giving Buddhist blessings stopped me in my tracks. I need more coffee before I can process that. 😉
    There is one thing worse than buying the horse — a parrot. It would be even more certain to outlive me, and it would call me names and throw insults the entire time. Although it would be a good watch-bird, as in the joke Jesus is Watching You. Happy new week hugs.

    1. What a great comment, Teagan. You have me laughing on a number of levels. Thank you. 😀

      1. That’s the least I can do in return for all the smiles you’ve given, John. 😀

  7. Nice list, John, I think I own the T-shirt on some of these!!

    1. Me too , John. That hex screw one has my name all over it.

      1. Oh… I thought the name “John” referred to me!!

  8. Never forget – Don’t roller-skate in a buffalo herd (apparently, you can’t) – but you can be happy if you’ve a mind to.

    1. Ha ha ha. Classic. Thanks, Keith

  9. Boss,

    First of all, who picks a fight with Tiny? They deserve what they get, as far as I’m concerned. And as for those Russians . . they really are everywhere, aren’t they? Welp, just so long as they’re not in cahoots with my mechanic . . I’m good, I guess.

    And yes, always apply the two hands rule to paper towel dispensing . . or suffer the consequences!

    Thanks for the kick start to my Monday morning!

    Happy Monday

      1. You are the best. Tina Turner told me ’bout you, but I didn’t believe her. Till now . . .

      2. Interesting she would say nice things given the way we parted.

      3. Ooooooo . . . TMZ time!

      4. Yup. Don’t tell Ike. That dude makes Tiny look tame.

      5. You ain’t kidding!

      6. If only true (sigh)

      7. Bwahahaha!

  10. Number 6 was my favorite. It sounds like the luck I’d have. I bet a number of people could picture that last big lab or whatever it was landing on their cars or worse, them. People here sometimes park under coconut trees. If they’re lucky no coconut has decided to fall. If unlucky the inevitable happens. The last one I heard about hit a car windshield. 😦 — Suzanne

    1. Our gulls love to see parked cars. Thanks, Suzanne.

  11. Good morning, John,
    thinking about my (sometimes stupid) actions, I’d need only one rule re Murphy’s Law: don’t be a Pit! 😀
    Have a great day,

  12. Paper towel…😂😂 so me against the rules :))

  13. Fending bulldogs away from the pill I dropped this morning, makes this a timely post. Since you mentioned the horse and the name Emeril in the same paragraph, there is one solution to that one.

    1. Oh noooooooo. Craig. Ha ha ha.

  14. #5 sooo many times.

    1. Ha ha ha. Enjoying Sarah right now, Teri.

      1. Thrilled to hear it, John – I’m honored!

  15. According to Murphy’s Law, do not try to explain the now quiet noise in your car’s engine to the mechanic

    A good mechanic will post a price list:

    Clunk $2,500
    Howl $350
    Screech $525
    Shudder…… You ain’t got that kinda dough.

    1. Excellent, Greg.

  16. 4a: Do not be careless with that expensive power tool while on a floating work dock. At best, the power tool will follow your screwdriver, radio, and lunch into the water. At worst, you’ll end up with one of the greatest obituaries in the world.

    1. Ha ha ha. Good one, Linda. Thanks.

  17. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    This had me laughing. I could really relate especially to the loss of a screw, the engine sound and being late. Having to protect our parked cars from falling satellites…may not be too off the mark:) Great list John!

    1. Thank you, Denise. 😀 Glad you could relate. LOL

  18. Russian satellite? lol

    1. LOL. Have to admit the thought is hilarious

  19. I’ve lived long enough for most of them – except ‘space junk’, Russian Satellite, and horse (darn near did the horse-thing while living on ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’ in SE AZ. Good one, John. ♥

    1. Well I’ve had a number of horses and glad I have none now.

  20. Lol! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to tear off a paper towel with one hand only to succeed in unrolling half the roll. 🙂

    1. Lovely to see it bounce across the floor.

  21. Haha, made think of all the things Murphy’s Law has done to affect my life, none of them good but some…..okay a bit funny, when not happening to me.😄

    1. I agree, Micki. Thanks.

  22. I keep doing #1 over and over again. I never learn!

    1. Of course we all do. Thanks, Luanne.

  23. 🤣 🤣 🤣 Arggghhhhh … I have done at least 7, possibly 8 of these!!! Fun post, John … thanks for the chuckles!!!

    1. Thank you, Jill. I think we all have done some. Falling Russian space junk aside. 😀

  24. Not sure which made me laugh the hardest; Tiny in a new state of Nirvana, or the car’s now quiet noise. So funny, John!

    1. Thank you, Jennie. Tiny s on drugs.

      1. Haha! 😅 You’re welcome, John.

  25. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    John Howell is back with another great Top Ten list. This one is the Top Ten Things Not to do According to Murphy’s Law. Check out the original post on his blog.

    1. Thank you, Don.

      1. You’re welcome, John.

  26. Love that number two, John! I imagine it happens far too often, too.

  27. Funny list, John! I’m definitely guilty of #1. Ha, ha! 😉

    1. I think we all are, Vashti.

  28. Fabulous, John, you have hit the nail on the head each time. I am more than 50% through Circumstances of Childhood and I am finding it really hard not to cheat and read the end. So exciting!

    1. Thank you so much Robbie. Don’t cheat it will be worth the wait. 😀

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