Jax in Jozi – the third installment of column for Vuvuzela Online

15 Oct

Curse the day someone came up with the concept of Murphy’s Law! It’s the phrase that’s uttered to you after you’ve had the worst day ever, or when the most inconvenient event happens to you. You’re boiling over inside about something that has just absolutely ruined your day, and your boyfriend / mother in law / cousin twice removed will giggle at your misfortune and say (wisely): “Isn’t that just Murphy’s Law?” 


Murphy’s Law has a number of different definitions and stories, but the basic tenet of this universal law (according to answers.com) is that “anything that can possibly go wrong, will go wrong”. Or, my personal favourite: “If there is a wrong way to do something, then someone will do it.” 

Murphy’s Law also refers to annoying mishaps or events at extremely inopportune times. Like getting a flat tyre on the way to an exam. Or spilling coffee on your blouse just before an interview. Or saying something mean about a colleague, while they’re standing right behind you.

I have Murphy’s Law days. They don’t happen often, but when they do I can expect the whole day to be pretty much ruined. Take last Friday for example. I got up early to go to gym at Wits, and it took me half an hour to make the five-minute trip from Melville to university. Not incredibly tragic, but extremely annoying. After getting my frustrations out at gym, I went to conduct a focus group at a daily newspaper. All the people I expected to be at my focus group were either on assignment, sick or AWOL. Sure, I thought – what do you expect? This was my third trip to the newspaper and I wasn’t overly optimistic. Thankfully I managed to book another time – with the News Editor who was more reliable.

So far, an annoying morning, but not necessarily a bad one. If only I had known. I moved on to Campus Square to buy a birthday present for my niece. As I was queuing at the till, the electricity went off. Another hour wasted, I left my gift at the shop and got back in my car. I headed over to Business School for an interview and on my way proceeded to bump a car that braked unexpectedly in front of me on Empire Road. Luckily we were going at five kilometres an hour so there was no damage, and we both went on our way. Sigh. At Business School I managed to get stuck in a muddy pothole, disguised as a puddle. My attempts to get out of the puddle left my car sprayed in mud and me, fuming. I then got a phone call from a family member giving me some sad news.

At the end of the day, when I arrived at my boyfriend’s house I was exhausted and annoyed. I hate Murphy’s Law days. But I’ve become so used to them that the only thing I can do is laugh, and then go to Doors nightclub to get drunk. Or get my boyfriend to take me out, and get drunk. Or both!

The thing about Murphy’s Law events is that, although they’re frustrating and can put you out, they’re generally things you can recover from, and will teach you a lesson in patience. Although I was extremely upset about the day, it was the phone call from my sister that set me straight.

“How are you?” she said. “Shit,” I replied, “I’m having the worst day ever. Life is shit!”

My sister chided me with the comment that things could be worse. She told me the bad news and I realised how selfish I had been. Murphy’s Law days come and they go, and they generally leave you unharmed and relieved that you have survived the day unscathed. Sometimes it even takes a day like that to make you realise that life can be a bit of a shit sometimes, but that doesn’t mean that it is shit.

I have to keep reminding myself so I can get through the days without developing murderous tendencies, or blaming someone else for my own (sad, pathetic) misfortune. At the end of the day you have to just laugh, and get over yourself.

If that seems too difficult to do by yourself, try go here. It’s a humorous collection of laws and exceptions relating to good old Murphy. My favourite being: “If Murphy’s Law can go wrong, it will.

Knowing Murphy’s Law won’t help either.”




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