How to Escape the Frustration of Sod’s Law or Murphy’s Law


My first experiences with feeling rage as a kid came while I was doing yard work in our backyard. I remember it distinctly but I’m not sure if it was before I was nine or ten years old. In any event, I hated having to sweep the back porch and then our patio.I hated how the wind always seemed to blow hardest at the precise moments when I would be shoveling up the leaves & dust into the trash can. That darn wind always messed up my clean and neat pile, as well as snag leaves & debris from dropping into the trash can and push them out onto the ground where I’d have to sweep & regather again. Man, I hated this! To my impressionable & impatient mind, it was clear that Nature was conspiring against me…without fail! If Nature could make extra work for me, indeed it would!

Now, let’s fast forward to the present day. Nature was not conspiring against me or anyone else. Tangibly and actually, we consciously fight the 2nd law of thermodynamics through efforts such as organizing and activities that are aimed at making our lives “easier”. Cue technology. I enjoy this wordy summary from Nevil Maskelyne:

It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.

His statement personifies matter and parallels the juvenile mindset I had then. At almost a century before I experienced my frustrations at Nature, another was keenly aware and seemingly equally perturbed!

Sod’s law has also been coined as Murphy’s law. We’ve all heard it: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. This saying is not sophisticated and it is, at most, a statement of the obvious. Another similar statement captures the essence of such a phrase: “If it can be built, then it can be broken”.

So, what does this reference to entropy have to do with anything self-reliance, survival, or preparedness? Truth be told, it has everything to do with it/them. It is the core. A conscious awareness-from the ignorant to the intellectual- leads one to understand that catastrophic events are inevitable, especially with our suckling-like dependence upon modern conveniences through technology. Let’s face it; even the most sophisticated technologies are composites of simplicities. Simplicities are where the vulnerabilities are found. Here are some examples of vulnerabilities:

  • *Nuclear reactors: compromised containment facilities, faulty cooling mechanisms
  • *Electrical grid: hardware connections/connectors, circuit-board failures
  • *Medical diagnostic technologies: dependence upon electricity to operate, non-operable to a layman (esp. correct interpretation of data)
  • *Motor-vehicles (combustion): fuel sources & parts procurement
  • *Motor-vehicles (alternative): fuel/power sources, parts procurement
  • *Communications: dependence upon uninterrupted networks, hardware, spatial interference
  • *Community health: rapid spread of viral/bacterial strains
  • *Food: Just-In-Time (JIT) distribution, logistical disruptions, shortage in available supplies

The factual awareness of such vulnerabilities & our accompanying actions to mitigate their devastation or impact upon us individually and upon our families, is not an indicator of paranoia. It is an integral part of the consumer’s stewardship. Consider the following:

  • *Taking an EMT course to better understand basic first-aid & appropriate responses to potentially life-threatening emergent events
  • *Cultivating a garden to produce herbs, fruits, vegetables, and other beneficial plants
  • *Learning to protect yourself/others against ill-intentioned individuals/circumstances that accompany the dynamics of societal living
  • *Learning how to operate alternative communications methods: second language including American Sign Language, Morse Code, HAM radio operations, signaling, etc.
  • *Learning the principles of construction, electrical, plumbing, roofing, etc.
  • *Acquiring the knowledge-base & skill-set to provide adequate nutrition at the most basic level for yourself & your family
  • *Learning the basic automobile diagnostics & accompanying repairs

Frustration occurs with an undesired result contrary to an expected outcome. Poor reasoning and/or unanticipated influences are generally responsible for the frustration. Murphy’s/Sod’s law provides plenty of opportunity to become familiar with this emotional response to stress. By understanding that the opportunity for the failure of a system simply accompanies the creation of that system, one can avoid the unnecessary expenditure of energies at being surprised when the failure of such a system occurs…and it will happen. With such an awareness of inevitable failure(s), only fools will continue to salivate prior to the ringing bell.

Here are a few suggestions for escaping the frustrations of a sod:

  • *Remember, FAILs happen.
  • *Don’t take the FAIL personally.
  • *Regroup and formulate a better strategy.
  • *Understand that the path of least resistance is part of Natural Law.
  • *Improve your reasoning & practical abilities through exercise & repetition: PRACTICE!


-David SafeWater

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