Murphy’s Law isn’t real.  It claims that “if anything can go wrong, it will.”  I once built a computer from scratch and it booted up the first time I turned it on. I then installed Windows without a hitch and it worked fine thereafter.  If Murphy’s law were true, that simply could never have happened.

On the other hand, the month of May.

Two weeks ago or so I took the propane tank from my barbecue to have it refilled at Costco.  I was told that they couldn’t refill the tank, since it was more than twelve years old; sixteen years old, in fact.  But I could buy a new one just inside.  So, I did that and then had them fill it up.

Memorial day I tried to light my barbecue.  Nothing happened.  I tried any number of things to get it to work, and nothing.  Finally, I took the propane tank from my fire table and tried that.  It worked fine.  For whatever reason, the brand new propane tank that I got from Costco simply wouldn’t work; it is full of gas, but none of it will come out.  Since this happened on Memorial Day, I couldn’t take it back because Costco is closed on Memorial Day.  So I went to Home Depot and got a new tank, filled it, and it worked without a problem.

Of course, that was not the only issue I had on Memorial Day.  In the morning, when we turned on the evaporative cooler for our house, the fan blew but the water did not flow: the pump had died.  The pump—with the evaporative cooler—is about fifteen years old, so not a huge shock, I suppose. So I had to make a trip to Home Depot to get a new pump and then install it.  Thankfully, that went easily and smoothly and didn’t even take much time. And new pumps for evaporative coolers are relatively inexpensive, only about twenty-five dollars.

My middle daughter—who works at a Costco in Northridge, California—came up to spend the day with us in Lancaster, California.  After she got home, around 10:30 PM that evening, I got a phone call from her.

“Daddy, I left my purse in your living room.”

So, I told her I would bring it down to her apartment in Northridge on Tuesday morning, since it has her driver’s license and her cash and her debit card: all things she certainly needs.

But of course, all the Murphy’s Law events of Memorial Day were minor glitches in what otherwise was a very good day spent with friends and family on a sunny day sharing food from a barbecue.

My youngest daughter remains seriously mentally ill. Thankfully she decided to spend the night with a friend from our church Monday night and Tuesday, so I did not have to worry about taking her down with me when I took the purse back to my middle daughter in Northridge. 

Although I didn’t need to worry about my youngest daughter, worry is something I tend to do with her all the time. Although she is currently stable, thanks to her medications, she is not actually well or normal.  Think a twelve-year-old in a nineteen-year old’s body, with no ability to make good choices or decisions.  Over the last month or so she has made some very bad choices and there isn’t a whole lot that her mother and I can do about it since she is legally an adult and so we don’t have the legal ability to control her behavior like we once did.

Recently we had to give her an ultimatum, telling her that if she didn’t alter her current path, she was going to have to move out immediately.  She chose to alter her path, thankfully, which of course was the outcome we wanted. 

Her current boyfriend is a disaster and partially responsible for the difficulties we’ve had with her these past few weeks.  He’s recently out of jail, mentally ill, and not stable. Given my youngest daughter’s mental health issues, she is unable to maintain friendships for any length of time, let alone relationships.  So this current boyfriend will be going away soon enough; they already argue almost constantly and so the end draws nigh on that front.

Meanwhile, my wife’s career is doing well; the school district has given the teachers a nearly ten percent pay raise, retroactive to last July.  That comes close to making up for all the pay cuts she got over the previous five years during past budget crises.

Murphy’s Law, when you get right down to it, simply is a humorous way of dealing with the nature of life: plenty of downs to go along with the ups.  Some days—some months—it seems an accurate description of reality. But the humor of the law removes the sting, lightning the load with the hope and realization that it’s really just a joke after all, because there are always ups in life, too, not just downs.