My Pal Murphy
I have no idea who Murphy is, if you want perfect honesty. But nobody wants PERFECT honesty, they all want honesty that protects their feelings at the same time. They want selfish honesty, predictable honesty, honesty that wipes their ass AND flushes. But they never stop to think that there are only two types of honesty: perfect honesty, which kicks everyone in the balls, and dishonesty, which is the avoidance of honesty.
I’m getting off topic though. Let’s get back to good ol’ Murphy. I’ll skip the part where I try to remember the book I got this accuracy from (and get off topic again), only to never remember the title of that friggin’ book.
But this guy, Murphy, was alive back in the day and created a law. It has a pretty fascinating name: Murphy’s Law. You can tell that he was also the person who named Bob’s Car Wash and Carl’s Doughnuts. But this law was a pretty accurate one, which is why it is not written in the Constitution or legally approved. The law goes as such: If something bad CAN happen, it will.
Basically, plan on being screwed over in life.
Now Murphy may have been a bit of a negative Nancy, but he tends to be right. Tsunamis, famine, George W. Bush’s inauguration…we never plan on these things, but our instinct tells us that they are things to stop watching the news for. (It’s so damn depressing to watch the news anymore.) And we all know we can’t stop them, well, not the tsunamis anyway, but can we really stop the other disasters in our lives?
I can’t do anything except laugh when my friends interrupt masturbation with phone calls about dead batteries to cameras. I can’t do anything about painful math problems involving finding the square root of A multiplied by two over C cubed divided by X minus infinity except to try to solve them (despite the look on my face as I make my attempt). I can’t do anything about my parents fighting about how to raise their kids except squeeze my eyes shut and want it to be over.
But I can stop them from fighting about me losing my job. I can stop barely passing math tests and study. I can turn my phone off.
Life will always present tests we didn’t study for. There are things we cannot stop from invading our lives and eating away at our happiness like termites.
But what about insurance?
Somewhere down the line a genius discovered that you CAN sell a bit of “peace of mind”. You CAN stop the bad stuff from wrecking havoc on your car, your house, your life. That, of ’course, is strictly in medical terms. What if there was a way to have insurance on what wasn’t on the list?
We all want that guarantee. Isn’t that what marriage is? A way to prevent a broken heart? In a day and age where people can afford to be picky about the happiness they want, we are starting to discover that insurance on love doesn’t always last. I bet Murphy is making trillions on all the movies and songs and everything else that talk about how “fate” screwed them over in the end. What a greedy bastard. Zale’s and Kay Jewelers might hate him more than we do.
There’s also some perfect honesty in him, though. Sometimes an unexpected downfall is just the thing to push us to rise up. Experience is what makes us into better people, as long as we learn from it.
Being human, though, we still try to play God and avoid the less-than-peachy experiences. And, being human, Murphy’s law is proven right again as we mostly fail.
My question is, is there a way to get insurance on ourselves? And if so, what is the price?
That might sound silly, but think of it like this: a teenager wants to do something ballsy for new year’s eve and guesses that they will either get drunk or smoke a little pot. When they mention it to a friend the friend joins in and hooks them up with a pot-dealer. The teenager knows they will have to work the next day, and knows they could get caught, but tells themselves they will say no if it feels wrong or like they’ve had too much. How can that teenager trust themself to back out of the deal when their friend wants to pony up the cash and head over to the dealer’s? How will that teenager be sure they will say no to the friend and listen to the sick feeling in their stomach?
Is it simply a question of inner strength or trust? Or is it another secret form of insurance that Murphy hasn’t found out about yet? Is this why some people get to ride off into the sunset with their loved ones and others file for divorce? Why a teenager might tell their friend they’d rather hang out on new year’s sober instead of emptying their wallet for feeling they no longer wanted?
Which people are the ones who have the insurance policy? Is it all of us that cheat Murphy from time to time? That sounds plausible to me. Maybe this is the “luck” people talk about making for themselves. But do we really make our own luck or does Murphy or God or Whoever/Whatever bestow it upon us? Is this all merely coincidence, in which case there is luck, or is there a fate that declares when things in our lives are “meant to be”?
Too bad there isn’t a perfectly honest answer to every single question on that list.
We’re all scared of screwing up our lives, of losing what makes us happy. Should we Murphy to blame for this, call it fate and idly sit by, or do we fight as hard as we can to hold on and take the chance of losing our cause?
So I guess that when this important person in my life told me he didn’t want to be in it anymore I was right to think, “I knew this was too good to be true”. Murphy at least tells me I am. On the other hand, if he hadn’t told me that to simply discover my true feelings, I would not have realized that I loved him as quickly. And he would not know that I cry at the thought of that conversation becoming reality.
So if something bad can happen, and will happen, maybe it is better that instead of fighting it, prolonging it, preventing it, we accept it. Nothing is forever, and though Murphy makes sure of that, he cannot stop us from discovering happiness again, and maybe even a rare exception or two.
Originally written: 1/5/12