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Who's responsible for Murphy's Law? 'Not me'

Posted Tuesday, June 30, 2009, at 12:47 PM

Farming is a profession where there are few rules, never a day the same and no guidebooks (not even Farming for Dummies) on how to do it right.

But on our farm there are two things -- two phenomena -- we can always count on. They are Murphy's Law and Not Me.

Most women know about Murphy's Law -- it 's the rule that says for some reason when you want to run into town to get "one little thing," after you've been mowing the grass or cleaning the house -- and you don't take time to get a shower -- you will see everyone you know.

For me on the farm, Murphy's Law means that if I we are "out of everything" and I decide to stop at the store on the way home from the field after a long day of harvesting hoping I won't see anyone I know -- I will, of course see everyone I know -- twice.

The second time I see them, it will be as we run our carts into each other in a well-lighted

isle where they get an up-close and personal look at my wind blown -- matted hair, corn fine lengthened eyelashes and dirt darkened mustache. Not to mention my unbrushed teeth and the bad breath that goes with.

That's Murphy Law.

On the farm, Murphy's Law means 15 fields we plant will grow fine, but the one field, along the highway where everyone drives by, will not come up -- or worse yet, get some strange disease causing it to grow a foot tall and die. My husband calls it "Farming in a Fishbowl." I call it Murphy's Law.

Murphy's Law means it won't rain all season, until it's time to harvest, then the rain won't stop. It means one hour from getting done with a long harvest the combine will shuck a motor or the

truck will get a flat tire. Or both. It means a cow will get sick the moment we are to leave on vacation or of course, my favorite, Mad Cow disease will be discovered in Oregon, the day we are scheduled to go there.

"Not Me" is a little different than Murphy's Law.

He (I'll say "he" for obvious reasons) showed up just a few weeks after our young son started talking in complete sentences.

"Who got into the candy bowl?" I ask, looking at my husband.

"Not me," chirps the two--year-old with unchewed pieces of Smarties still stuck on his smiling teeth.

Since then "Not Me" has been present every time something has been spilled, lost or buried on the farm.

"Who left the toys in the yard?"

"Not Me," say three male voices -- one much deeper than the other two.

"Who took the wrench out of my pickup and didn't put it back?" asks the farmer.

"Not Me," say the three people, one with a much higher pitched voice than the other two.

At our farm to date, "Not Me" is responsible for 5,234 lights left on, 1,245 spills (this includes unexplained rug stains), 496 times the water has been left running, 325 things put in the wrong place in the farm shop, 144 muddy footprints on our carpeting, 37 unexplained grease spots on the shop floor, 27 missing flashlights, 25 rusted toys, 23 flat tires, 16 lost or buried wrenches, seven missing screwdrivers, five broken tools and two lost crowbars.

The other day was a perfect example. We finally got some hay mowed down after the weatherman declared there would be seven straight days of dry weather.

No sooner did we get to the house when we saw lightning. Within 10 minutes it was pouring buckets.

"That's Murphy's Law isn't it," remarked one of the boys.

"I'd like to know who ordered the weather we've been having," grumbled hubby to no one in particular.

"Not Me," came the automatic reply from the boys and I.

Well, at least now we know who to blame for the last two years!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Funny as usual Marcia.

Most of my life I have pondered whether "Not Me" got its ubiquity from God or the Devil. I know of no others than those three that for many appear to be everywhere all the time. :)

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Jun 30, 2009, at 11:59 PM

I have to say that I enjoy your articles but feel the need to point out that eventhough you put a funny spin on the topics -- You sure do gripe a lot

-- Posted by workingmom on Wed, Jul 1, 2009, at 12:47 PM

Dear OKR - Thank you for the compliment. I tend to think "Not Me" is a little bit of both- an extension of ourselves.

Dear Working Mom - Thank you for your response. I'll certainly think about what you have said about griping.

For the record, my "boys" read each of my columns before I submit them and have all editing rights. I don't put anything in the paper that upsets them in anyway.

I've heard people say farmers complain a lot. It took me several years, but I finally figured out why. They can't control the weather, the markets or the prices they pay for inputs. One of the few things they have control of is the complaining. LOL. Maybe I'm there.

Thanks again,


-- Posted by Marcia Gorrell on Thu, Jul 2, 2009, at 8:22 AM

Marcia, I never considered anyone who was dirty from hard, honest work to be anything other than good looking. The folk who worry me are the ones who are always squeaky clean.

-- Posted by Nonnymus on Fri, Jul 3, 2009, at 6:10 PM

_"Most women know about Murphy's Law -- it 's the rule that says for some reason when you want to run into town to get "one little thing," after you've been mowing the grass or cleaning the house -- and you don't take time to get a shower -- you will see everyone you know."_ Yes, you hit it right on the nail.

-- Posted by collector on Fri, Jul 3, 2009, at 6:36 PM

Marcia, I sure don't think this column was an airing of gripes.

Murphy's Law occurs to all of us. You clean the refrigerator, make a list, shop, return home, stash the groceries, scrub the floor. The children troop in after school, ready for a snack. Out comes the new gallon of milk. Glasses are filled. Murphy's Law flips in at that point. The nearly full container of milk ends up on the clean floor and promptly doubles in volume.

I prefer Murphy's law to the crude bumper sticker we've all seen.

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 7:33 PM

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