In an earlier post, I wrote about Finagle’s Creed which described every information technology project that was ever worked on or will be worked on. Several of you commented by adding laws and corollaries of your own and I realized that someone had already done the work of amassing all the rules by which we work and live.
No, it’s not The Bible but it is the bible of official rules. Paul Dickson wrote a book entitled The Official Rules. This book, sadly now out of print, is “the definitive, annotated collection of laws, principles and instructions for dealing with the real world.” Dickson organized the rules alphabetically from Abbott’s Admonitions (1. If you have to ask, you not entitled to know. 2. If you don’t like the answer, you shouldn’t have asked the question.) to Zymurgy’s Seventh Exception to Murphy’s Laws (When it rains, it pours).
Dickson followed his first book with The New Official Rules and, for a long while, entertained submissions for any subsequent “new” rule that he had overlooked.
Here are a few random examples from both books:
- Boren’s Laws of Bureaucracy: (1) When in charge, ponder; (2) When in trouble, delegate; (3) When in doubt, mumble.
- DeVault’s Razor: There are only two laws. (1) Someday you will die. (2) If you are reading this, you are not dead yet.
- Erma Bombeck’s Rule of Medicine: Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
- Exxon’s Law of Energy Costs: We’ve upped ours, now up yours.
- Leahy’s Law: If a thing is done wrong often enough, it becomes right. Corollary: Volume is a defense to error.
- Mrs. Murphy’s Law (also known as the Buttered-Side-Down Law and now as Sod’s Law): An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
- Russell’s Right: If it succeeds, it is right. If it fails, it is wrong.
I added two of my own:
- Curmudgeon’s Law #1: To a fire department, there is no such thing as a “little fire.” (from personal experience)
- Curmudgeon’s Law #2: Nothing is impossible so long as you don’t have to do it.