Sherman Cauldwell of Vienna has been collecting data about Murphy's Laws and other "laws" that are frequently invoked these days.

There has been much debate about who was first to enunciate these laws, and we're now told, "Murphy's Laws weren't originated by Murphy but by another man of the same name."

Occasionally the claim is made that Murphy's real name was Finn Cool O'Murphy, a Teuton king who lived during the sixth century. I wouldn't know about that. I didn't come to work here until several years later.

Three basic laws are usually credited to Murphy. "If anything can go wrong, itwill. Nothing is as easy as it looks. Everything will take longer than you think." O'Tool's Law says, "Murphy was an optimist.

Some lesser known laws are also worth noting: "Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself." "The length of a meeting increases as the square of the number of people present." "The probability of an occurrence is in inverse ratio to its desirability." "Outgo always rises to exceed income." "Everything costs more than you thought it would." "It's easier to get into something than out of it". "No good deed goes unpunished."

Among the early observers of these natural phenomena was a man named Junius Q. Throckmorton who conducted an experiment with two slices of bread. On one slice, he lettered the word "Up" on one side and the word "Down" on the other side. The other slice was buttered on one side, unbuttered on the other.

Throckmorton dropped each slice 1,000 times from a height of 5 feet and kept a careful tally of the results. The unbuttered slice fell with the "Up" side visible 500 times and the "Down" side visible 500 times. the buttered slice fell with the buttered side down 1,000 consecutive times.

Throckmorton was on to something big, but didn't realize what it was. It remained for Gold's Law, which came along years later, to explain The Perversity of Inanimate Objects, later amended and expanded to include The Perversity of Idiomatic Expressions.