A Bombeckian truism, and the name of one of Erma’s many books, ‘If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?”—is both quantified and immortalized in the following nine laws I came across recently. They are far reaching in their grasp of life, whether you are a student or student of life. While acerbic in nature, they are thought-provoking. But more important, while they may cause you to pause, they may then make you laugh. And what is better than a good laugh?
The first is Kauffman’s Paradox of the Corporation. He theorizes that, “The less important you are to the corporation, the more your tardiness or absence is noticed.” Lampner, who I have on good authority, is Kauffman’s long lost cousin has an addendum to that law. His rule states: “When leaving work late, you will go unnoticed. When you leave work early, you will meet the boss in the parking lot.”
And just to make work life all the more attractive there is the Salary Axiom to contend with. It states that “The pay raise is just large enough to increase your taxes and just small enough to have no effect on your take-home pay.” You can either lol (laugh out loud) or cry in your tea about this one.
The one I quite like is Miller’s Law of Insurance. I am not sure who Miller is (or was), but he/she is/was obviously wise. The tenents of this law? Insurance covers everything except what happens. How true is this? Yes, your insurance covers water damage but not Acts of God. Seriously, would God really flood our basements? Does God not have better things to do than mess up our basement rec rooms? (Or in my case, basement dungeon.)
There is a law to cover every instance. For example, Murphy’s First Law for Wives is: “If you ask your husband to pick up five items at the store and then you add one more as an afterthought, he will forget two of the first five.” Okay, then, write them down for your husband. This is an easy thing and a very necessary step for me these days. If I do not write stuff down, it does not get done. It gets filed away somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind—to be left there until they no longer matter. This can be dangerous—the taxman doth not like to be forgotten.
There is one law that I have learned to circumvent (with help) very nicely. It is officially called The Grocery Bag Law, and states that “The candy bar you planned to eat on the way home from the market is hidden at the bottom of the bag.” Due to savvy checkout clerks, who tend to ask if you want the gum or breath mints or chocolate bar you have just purchased set aside to put in your purse, I no longer have this problem. I understand that this does not solve any of the world’s current problems, but it does make my little corner of the planet just that bit more pleasant.
Staying at the grocery store, there is one other law which is simple, but so true. It is Isaac’s Strange Rule of Staleness. “Any food that starts out hard will soften when stale. Any food that starts out soft will harden when stale.” Bread which is soft gets hard. Crispy potato chips get limp when stale.”
Weiner’s Law of Libraries answers a lot of questions for me. It puts forth the theory that “There are no answers, only cross-references.” But you can thwart this truism by asking your librarian for help. “Easy peasy” as my sister would say. If you need a definition of easy peasy—it means more than easy.
The First Law of Living states that “As soon as you start doing what you always wanted to be doing, you’ll want to be doing something else.” I have a bone to pick with this one—it is a sort of the “grass is always greener on the other side” or as Erma Bombeck would say: “the grass is always greener over the septic tank” type of thinking. Gazing wistfully or wishfully over the fence, we have to remember that crabgrass is also green. Though I must admit, I personally have no problem with crabgrass—without it, I would have no lawn.
I was made aware of these laws through an email from a friend, and the Internet seems to be the foundation of their immediate origin. I would like to extend a personal thank you to Kaufmann, Lampman, Weiner, Miller, Murphy, Isaac and the unnamed for their laws, and add one more that I will attribute to Erma: “the bathroom is the place my kids escape to until the groceries are put away.” This, though is not something I find to be true. The arrival of the groceries is a much heralded event at my house–and the “kids” (which includes my husband) seem to come out of nowhere to go through the bags to see if I bought anything “good”. Suffice to say, they are not looking for broccoli.