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LIFE IS UNFAIR

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 20, 2014

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

– Murphy’s Laws have a tendency of upsetting us.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I think we’ve all encountered our fair share of Murphy’s Laws in our lifetimes. Such idiosyncrasies make life a bit perplexing and frustrating. It’s what causes us to shake our heads in bewilderment, even though they are seemingly minor in annoyance. In my case, I wanted to print a report on my home computer printer. It’s a good printer, at least I bought it believing it would serve all my needs. It is wireless and can be used to print on paper, use as a fax machine, and scan images. Usually, all I need is a single piece of paper printed with nothing more than text, no graphics. When I issue the command, the printer dutifully wakes up, pulls in a piece of paper for printing, then spends the next ten minutes grinding away making sounds presumably to check the print cartridges, paper alignment, or whatever. At first I believed all was working well, but the grinding would unexpectedly stop and go. Just as I was ready to pull the plug in desperation, my report popped out. My printer continued to gurgle and make strange sounds for a few minutes afterwards until it suddenly shut itself off.

I do not believe my printer is unique as I have been able to replicate the experience on other printers, both at home and at the office. I guess printing simple text is too much for today’s printer manufacturers.

Our lives are full of such mysteries which cause us to shake our heads in disbelief. For example:

* Opening the plastic bags in cereal boxes requires either herculean strength or a hedge trimmer to cut the top open. No matter how you do it, the cereal usually ends up on the table, not your bowl.

* There is perhaps nothing worse than to have to go to the bathroom and suddenly realize there is no toilet paper. I think Seinfeld did an episode on this. It’s a mystery to me why people cannot replace such things, be it TP, replacing a stick of butter, taking out the trash when it is full, or whatever. Maybe it’s just me.

* You make a great effort to assure your dog doesn’t defecate inside the house on the rug, but to no avail. Even worse, stepping on his feces in the middle of the night is interesting… particularly in your bare feet.

* You become a magnet for driving behind narcissistic people on the road, regardless of their age. This is where a person believes they are the only one on the road and makes life miserable for the rest of us. I’ve also noticed, when you drive carefully, someone is sure to pass you at warp speed, yet there is not a traffic officer within miles. Of course, when you speed up to three MPH over the limit, the police hound you like the dog you are.

* Now that we have hundreds of cable channels to choose from on television, whenever you channel surf, you only find commercials, no programs. If you will remember, the promise of cable was to do away with commercials. One of the great lies of our time.

* A friend laments about a problem he is experiencing, you offer advice, he ignores it, the problem repeats itself, he complains again. This is what is called a “vicious circle.” Let’s face it, he doesn’t want the problem fixed, he just wants to harangue about it.

* Regardless of what restaurant you recommend for dining that evening, everybody else hates it; and every time someone recommends a restaurant, with rare exception, you hate it.

* Television remote control units seem to be living organisms and related to rabbits (they multiply). I started with two units, one for my cable box, another for my television set, but now I have five units which do a variety of things and are scattered around the room. I’ve learned they know how to burrow like a rabbit as I can never seem to find one when I’m ready to watch TV. They can usually be found deep in sofas, under chairs, in other rooms, etc. Rarely can they be found in plain sight, or is this just me?

* You want to cook something special for dinner, you shop carefully and gather the ingredients. No matter what you do, you will forget something thereby causing you to drop everything and return to the supermarket. After you have knocked yourself out making your creation, you discover nobody wants it. I think a lot of moms can relate to this.

* Similarly, you are ready to finally tackle a major chore, such as repairing the lawn mower, fixing the garbage disposal, or changing the oil in your car, only to discover you’re missing something, such as a specific tool or component part of the product. After you have gone back to the store five times, and are now properly equipped to address your problem, the phone rings and you have to talk to Aunt Edna in Iowa for an hour. It’s not until midnight before you finally finish your task.

* Regardless of the weed spray you use, they only disappear for a couple of days before resurfacing and flourishing. The same is true with lawn fertilizers that do not seem to take effect. You get the feeling they should be reversed; put the fertilizer on the weeds and the spray on your grass.

* You’ve been waiting for a particular television show all week. Just as it begins, the network news breaks in with an inane announcement and overruns your show; or even worse, just as the show is concluding, you either suffer a power outage, or the television station decides to perform a test of the emergency broadcast system. You never find out how your program ends or “Whodunit.”

* Anytime you want to access the Internet, service seems to be disrupted. Only after cajoling the modem and router for several minutes does it seem to wake up. Mysteriously, the telephone and cable TV connections are also affected thereby causing you to call your network provider to complain. Inevitably, you speak to a robot in India, not a human being, where you are put on hold for at least 30 minutes. Miraculously everything clears up while you are on hold.

* You get to a meeting early, as does everyone else, except one person; yet the meeting is delayed until the person finally arrives late. Of course, no apology is offered for being late.

* In a heated debate, you make a brilliant and articulate argument which solves the world’s problems. Inevitably, someone asks you to repeat it after you have winded yourself.

* As you get into a checkout line at a grocery store, the woman in front of you has no less than 100 coupons which the clerk must verify one by one, and issue the credits against her bill. You will gladly pay her bill if she would just take her groceries and leave. Amazingly, she walks out of the store with an entire cart of groceries for free and $50-$100 cash in her pocket.

There are many other annoyances which I’m sure we’ve all experienced, such as squirrels darting in and out of traffic as we try to drive through a neighborhood, holding a toilet handle ten minutes in order to flush it, ear and nose hairs on men, including their wild eyebrows, and when simple common courtesy is not returned.

These types of things annoy us as they tend to surprise and disrupt our normal routine. We like to have control over our lives and resent it when the unexpected or seemingly illogical occurs, thereby affecting our comfort zone. We also tend to become impatient when machines do not work according to specifications. You ask for something black and white, and inevitably get some shade of gray instead. More than anything though, we have trouble adjusting to situations we do not consider fair, thereby we feel mistreated. No wonder we have a drug culture in this country to cope with all of our anxieties. Life would surely be easier if it was less complicated, people were sensitive to the world around them, and practiced a little common sense. But who am I kidding?

There is something about Murphy’s Laws that just gets under our skin. As for me, it’s computer printers.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  ACCEPTING MEDIOCRITY IN COMPUTING – Just because you use Microsoft products, doesn’t mean you are “state of the art.”

LAST TIME:  THE ELEMENTS OF LEADERSHIP  – Is it as easy as one, two, three?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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9 Responses to “LIFE IS UNFAIR”

  1. Dolphin, Cynthia (DOP) said

    Yes, I agree Life is Unfair. Especially for me that I worked so hard to complete my degree. Have to pay back these high interest (19%)/principal student loan fees, which is more than my annual income. Thanks for sharing your message on Life is Unfair.

    Cynthia Dolphin
    Former Pace University Student

    Like

  2. flarkie said

    Re: * Opening the plastic bags in cereal boxes requires either herculean strength or a hedge trimmer to cut the top open. No matter how you do it, the cereal usually ends up on the table, not your bowl.

    Would you not wonder why they haven’t gone to a zip lock type of bag by this late date? They’re obviously easier to open and would go much further in preserving freshness. Trying to roll down the waxed paper liners never closes the liner tightly to preserve the product.

    By the way, I have similar problems with things like pancake mixes. The flour goes everywhere besides the measuring cup you’re pouring it into.

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    A U.V. of Largo wrote…

    “That was funny. Saw myself in a lot of those situations. You are also a wit, but then I knew that.”

    Like

  4. […] LIFE IS UNFAIR […]

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    An M.S. of Chicago, Illinois wrote…

    “Wow, can I ever relate to the printer situation. The other day I changed cartridges and then the black wouldn’t print. I went to the store and they were accommodating enough to change out the black (1/4 used) for a new one. Still didn’t work. Shut everything down. Next day, with a prayer, I turned the printer on again and after grinding around half an hour, everything worked. Well, at least I got a new cartridge. 🙂

    Hang in there. It’ll never get better, but hopefully no worse.”

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    An M.C. of New York City wrote…

    “Oh Tim,
    Life is unfair. I agree with a lot of the things you mentioned. Especially the TP. In the ladies room at my office it seems I am the only one that changes it. Housekeeping doesn’t even do it.
    However I can deal with life being unfair. It the fact that life is a bitch then you die that haunts me.”

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    A D.F. of New York City wrote…

    “Tim, my beef is with those plastic seals that cover almost everything except a jar of olives. Why? Also how hard would it be for your average Psychopath to have removed the original piece of plastic and replaced it with the one you can’t seem to get undone?”

    Like

  8. […] LIFE IS UNFAIR […]

    Like

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