Are You A Pessimist, Optimist Or Realist?

by Kevin Burton

   I call myself a realist.  I’m guessing most people think I’m a pessimist.

   I try to be a thinker, and I run most if not all decisions through a risk/reward assessment. Still, I could surely be true to this while putting a more positive spin on things. 

   It doesn’t help that I seem to have one of those faces, where when I am thinking hard or concentrating, people look at me and think I am angry.  I don’t know what to do about that without being phony.  I haven’t seen any commercials for a product that offers a cure for this malady. 

   I’ll be watching the Super Bowl commercials next month for help in this area. 

   I write this as preamble to sharing part of an e-mail my friend Tracy sent to me last year.  This is a list of “bits of irony and truth.”  It’s sort of a fleshing out of Murphy’s Law, “anything that can go wrong , will go wrong.”

   There were 64 of these. I won’t get to them all, or share them in order. 

   If I believe that most of these are true and some of them are unerringly true, does that make me a pessimist?  

   Whatever.  Here are the “laws.” I’m choosing to laugh through them rather than cry:

18. There is never enough time to do it right the first time, but there is always enough time to do it over. 

63. Finagle’s Third Law: 
In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake. 

26. You will always get the greatest recognition for the job you least like. 

15. Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing. 

29. The longer the title, the less important the job. 

38. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will do the most damage will go wrong first. 

48. Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, the organism will do as it damn well pleases. 
— Harvard’s Law 

41. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something. 

28. When confronted by a difficult problem you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, “How would the Lone Ranger handle this?” 

32. Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it makes it worse. 

45. It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious. 

52. In any decision situation, the amount of relevant information available is inversely proportional to the importance of the decision. 
— Cooke’s Law 

54. The number of adjectives and verbs that are added to the description of a menu item is in inverse proportion to the quality of the dish. 
— Calkin’s Law of Menu Language 

59. Bradley’s Bromide: 
If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee — that will do them in. 

17. The last person that quit or was fired will be the one held responsible for everything that goes wrong – until the next person quits or is fired. 

30. Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives. 

43. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw. 

31. An “acceptable” level of unemployment means that the government economist to whom it is acceptable still has a job. 

1. A pat on the back is only a few centimeters from a kick in the pants. 

3. The more crap you put up with, the more crap you are going to get. 

7. When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are never talking about themselves. 

49. Never replicate a successful experiment. 
— Fett’s Law 

6. Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested in, and say nothing about the other. 

50. Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing. 
— von Braun 

10. Mother said there would be days like this, but she never said there would be so many. 

34. Success is just a matter of luck, just ask any failure. 

42. 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. 

55. Don’t force it; get a larger hammer. 
— Anthony’s Law of Force 

56. Any tool when dropped, will roll into the least accessible corner of the workshop. 
— Anthony’s Law of the Workshop 

14. To err is human, to forgive is not company policy. 

8. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it!

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