Be careful not to disturb nature’s laws

By Bob Huber, Local Columnist

Now in these lazy, hazy days of summer it’s restful to sit back and look at the various laws that dictate our lives. (These commandments do not include random declarations set down by heavy-handed wives, because they were never officially codified — the rules I mean.)
For instance, we might look at Fetridge’s Law, which is somewhat related to Gumperson’s Law and remotely similar to Parkinson’s Law but has everything to do with Murphy’s Law. Is that clear?
Only once did I see all these laws bundled into one fell catastrophe, and even then I doubted it. But first, here’s a breakdown of the finer legal points of each law:
FETRIDGE’S LAW says if something is supposed to occur, it won’t. This immutable edict was named after an NBC radio producer named Claude Fetridge, who in l936 thought swallows departing from Mission Capistrano in California would make a pretty good radio broadcast. So Fetridge loaded up a massive convoy of technicians on the correct day for the big bird take off and descended on Capistrano.
What Fetridge hadn’t reckoned with was a quirk of nature that says “Don’t trust birds. They mess on courthouses.” You see, the birds had flown the coup the day before they were supposed to, and Fetridge’s Law was born.
Everyone has experienced Fetridge’s Law. It occurs when you drive to a garage because a rattle in your new car is threatening to explode your skull. But when you get there, the rattle stops.
GUMPERSON’S LAW says vacant parking spaces are always on the other side of the street. Or, you can toss a snubbed-out cigar from your car window and start a forest fire, but you can’t get a spark to kindle in your fireplace without dynamite sloshed with jet fuel.
PARKINSON’S LAW deals with personnel in the corporate world. It is best revealed when one uncovers events leading to the Enron scandal, but it won’t be discussed here at length other than to say investors who think they can rely on smart, honest guys to make them gobs of money should have their heads examined — the investors I mean.
Finally, MURPHY’S LAW says if anything can go wrong, it will.
Picture the bottom of the ninth inning. Your team is winning 1-0. A runner is on first with two away, but the man at the plate, who wears the bottoms of Coke bottles for glasses, has two strikes. Your pitcher looks bored, and fans are heading for the parking lot.
That’s when Murphy’s Law takes over. Your over-confident pitcher lobs a slow curve, and the batter slices a line drive past the shortstop. The center fielder, in a daring display of wishful thinking, dives for it — and misses! — and the ball rolls to the fence where a 13-year-old fan hangs over and steals it. “Home run!” shouts the umpire. And your team loses 2-1.
Now to the story which included all these laws, and about time too.
When I was a kid, my mother ordered a gas floor furnace and a kitchen range from a large mail-order house whose name I will not disclose but which had a catchy nickname — Monkey Ward.
But when the order was delivered, only the stove came with a note that said the furnace would come later, because it had to be shipped from Chicago.
Well, you know what happened. A few days later the furnace finally came, but with it came another stove.
I won’t go into detail about all the letters and phone calls my mother undertook in the name of Nebraska bred honesty trying to get the company to retrieve the stove except to say that a final note arrived from the company advising Mom to stop her bleeping blathering, and would she take her business elsewhere in the future?
End of story? Not quite. Mom never could get the oven on her new stove to work. It finally blew up in the middle of the night, and Mom told Dad to retrieve her old wood-burning range from the hired hand’s house and haul away the offending, now limp, appliance, giving in at last to the four laws stated above.
All of which boils down to this question: Will I disturb these laws of nature if I return the extra computer keyboard I received from Dell, or should I see if I get a third one? Only the Federal Express delivery man knows for sure.

Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales. He can be contacted at 356-3674.