Paul Dickson, a 39 year-old writer became interested in the phenomena of universal laws when he discovered that the size of the cut he inflicted upon himself while shaving was directly proportional to the importance of the event he was shaving for.
1. If anything can go wrong, it will.
2. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
3. Everything takes longer than you expect.
4. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will go wrong first will be the one that will do the most damage.
5. Left to themselves, all things go from bad to worse.
6. If you play with something long enough, you will surely break it.
7. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
8. If you see that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
9. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
10. It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.
11. The consumer report on the item will come out a week after you’ve made your purchase. The one you ought will be rated “unacceptable” or The one you almost bought will be rated “best buy”
12. Gold’s Law: If the shoe fits, its ugly.
13. If you hit two keys on the typewriter, the one you don’t want hits the paper.
14. A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
15. If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
16. When you dial a wrong number you never get a busy signal.
17. Law of Gardening: You get the most of what you need the least.
18. Jones’s Law: Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
19. Eve’s Discovery: At a sale, the only suit or dress that you like and that fits is not the one on sale.
20. Nothing will be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
21. Harris’s Law: Any philosophy that can be put “in a nutshell” belongs there. - Sidney J. Harris
22. Douglas’s Law of Practical Aeronautics: When the weight of the paperwork equals weight of the plane, the plane will fly. - Donald Douglas
23. Unnamed Law: If it happens, it must be possible.
24. Wing-Walking, First Law of: Never leave hold of what you’ve got until you’ve got hold of something else.
25. Bucy’s Law: Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man. - Fred Bucy
26. Clopton’s Law: For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.
27. United Law: If an organization carries the word “united” in its name, it means it isn’t: e.g., United Nations, United Arab Republic, United Kingdom, United States.
28. Kafka’s Law: In the fight between you and the world, back the world. - Franz Kafka
29. Ettorre’s observation: The other line moves faster. This applies to all lines—bank, supermarket, toll booth, customs. If you change lines, then the other line—the one you were in originally—will move faster.
30. Osborn’s Law: Variables won’t, constants aren’t.
31. Never use one word when a dozen will suffice.
32. If it can be understood, it is not finished yet.
33. Never do anything for the first time.
34. Marshall’s generalized iceberg theorem: Seven-eighths of everything can’t be seen.
35. Runyon’s Law: The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. But that’s the way to bet.
36. The severity of an itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
37. Paige’s Sixth Rule: Don’t look back; something might be gaining on you. - Satchel Paige
38. Kristol’s Law: Being frustrated is disagreeable, but the real disasters in life begin when you get what you want. - Irving Kristol.
39. Parkinson’s Law: (1) Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. (2) Expenditure rises to meet income. C. Northcote Parkinson
40. Peer’s Law: The solution to a problem changes the problem. - John Peers
41. Corcoran’s Law: All papers that you save will never be needed until such time as they are disposed of, when they become essential. - John Corcoran
42. Darwin’s Observation: Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can. - Charles Darwin
43. Thurber’s Conclusion: There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else. - James Thurber, Fables for Our Time
44. A spilled drink flows in the direction of the most expensive object. - Judye Briggs, in The New Official Rules, P. Dickson
45. 45. Law of milk and other precious commodities: The less you have, the more you spill.
46. Law of epistolary effort: Troublesome correspondence that is postponed long enough will eventually become irrelevant.
47. Law of repair: Anything adjustable will sooner or later need adjustment
48. Harrison’s Postulate: For every action, there is an equal and opposite critisicm.
49. A dog’s affection increases in direct proportion to how wet and sandy he is.
50. When you come in late for work, everybody notices; when you work late, nobody notices.
51. The waitress always comes around to ask you how your food is whenever your mouth is full.
52. The average time between throwing something away and needing it badly is about two weeks.
53. Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.
54. If you treat a sick child like an adult and a sick adult like a child, everything works out pretty well.
55. Checks are always delayed in the mail. Bills arrive or time or sooner.
56. If you do a job twice, it’s yours.
57. Smith’s Fourth Law of Inertia: A body at rest tends to watch television.
58. No matter how many show up for choir practice, you will need one more copy of the music.
59. The shorter the agenda the longer the meeting.
60. When you’re right, nobody remembers; when you’re wrong, nobody forgets.
61. O’Reilly’s Law: No matter what goes wrong, there’s always someone who knew it would.
62. Kilpatrick’s Law: Interchangeable parts aren’t.
63. Shanahan’s Law: The length of the meeting is the square of the number of people present.
64. Brennan’s Law: Paper is always strongest at the perforations.
65. Dooley’s Law: If something happens to you, it has previously happened to all your friends.
66. Never hire a plumber who wears rubber boots or an electrician with scorched eyebrows. - Ashley Cooper
67. Thomas’s Rules of the Game: a) No matter how well you do something, someone won’t like it. b) No matter how trivial the assignment, it is always possible to build it up to a major issue.
68. Herman’s Rule: If it works right the first time, you’ve obviously done something wrong. - Pat (Mrs. Herman) Jett
69. Toomey’s Rule: It is easy to make decisions on matters for which you have no responsibility.
70. Immediately after you buy an item, you find a coupon for it. - Bill Copeland
71. The first person who gets off a crowded elevator is always standing in the back. Carl Dombeck
72. The last key in the bunch usually opens the lock.
73. The weaker the arguments, the stronger the words. - Dave Gneiser
74. If a problem causes many meetings, the meetings eventually become more important than the problem.