John Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 6, 2009

John Howell Sr.

Wider net cast in attempt to activate Murphey’s Principle

(Publisher’s note: Murphey came through before 8 a.m. Saturday after the following column was published the day before.

While rummaging through a black briefcase-type bag that I carry, the small camera magically appeared in one of the bag’s small pockets.

 “You’ve lost more stuff in that bag than you’ve found,” my brother said when I called him to announce that the miracle of Murphey’s Principle of Loss had come through again.

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 “That means I’ll find more stuff,” I replied.

Murphey’s Principle of Loss — I recommend it in hopes that it works as well for you as it does for me.)

These lines are written in an attempt to activate Murphey’s Principle of Loss. This usually works for me when I misplace something. Instead of wasting many minutes searching for it, I simply announce that I have lost it. Then and only then, after I have made public announcement that I have lost something, the missing item magically appears. Before the announcement it remains invisible. After, it’s right there.

As I said, it usually works for me. Only this time it hasn’t, so I am casting a wider net. About a week ago I misplaced my pocket camera. I’ve still got its black leather case, only the camera is missing.

The camera is a silver Canon something or the other. Very handy, fits easily in my pocket so I am seldom without a camera. And that’s also the camera’s biggest drawback. So small, that it’s easily misplaced. Lost.

In its case it’s about the size of a pack of cigarettes. Outside its case, it’s much thinner and smaller.

I have already used a version of Murphey’s Principle of Loss with success today. Several days ago I took a photo at North Delta School (with the newspaper’s larger, SLR camera, since mine is missing). Afterward, when I got ready to write the caption (or cutline as we call it) for the photo in the newspaper, my notepad was missing. I looked in the usual places — car, bedroom, home desk, office desk — to no avail.

I gave up, called the school and asked if I could email the photo and have someone identify it for me. A short time later, the school called back to tell me that I had left my notepad there on my visit.

That’s a demonstration of Murphey’s Principle.

(I was also told that the loss provided mild mirth from those who know well a member of my family who works at North Delta and who also frequently misplaces his own stuff.)

Thus far I have announced my camera loss only on the PA telephone system in this building.

Now, I’m casting a wider net:

I have lost my very small, silver/chrome Canon pocket camera. Lost it about a week or 10 days ago, kept thinking it would reappear but it has not.

There, that should do it.

Murphey, I’m counting on you!