January/February 2007

I hate Murphy’s Law. You know … the phenomenon that, “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Well, it happened to us at Superintendent’s Profile in last month’s issue, but I’ll explain that in a moment. First, I did a little research to uncover what this law is and where it originated. I figured one should get to know his enemy.

According to Wikipedia, it most likely started at Edwards Air Force Base in 1948. It says, “…in American culture the law was named somewhat sarcastically by Doctor/Colonel John Paul Stapp’s Team working on Project MX981 at Edwards Air Force Base after Major Edward A. Murphy Jr., a development engineer contributing support measurement technology for a brief time on rocket sled experiments done by the United States Air Force.

“The most detailed examination of the origins of the law is the book A History of Murphy's Law by author Nick T. Spark. Spark concludes that differing recollections years later by various participants make it impossible to pinpoint who exactly coined the phrase. The law supposedly stems from an attempt to use new measurement devices developed by the eponymous Edward Murphy, and was coined in adverse reaction to something Murphy said when his devices failed to perform and eventually cast into its present form prior to a press conference some months later, the first ever [of many] given by Colonel Stapp.”

How the ghost of Edward Murphy haunted us in the December 2006 issue was in the form of a layout error, which omitted a full page of the Town of Roxbury Superintendent of Highways Dan Ballard’s story. Horrified upon the discovery of the error, I called Dan to apologize and had “special” reprints ordered for him in which his entire story appeared. For the rest of you, please see page 60 (God willing) to find his story in its entirety (God willing), minus some of the photography. We are very sorry for this error.

Have a happy, healthy and safe 2007. P

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.