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Murphy’s Law and Fence Posts · 20 June 2008

I know that I wrote about building fences last summer but since I am building yet another fence, I figured I could write another one. Albeit from a different perspective.


My wife, says that she gets a project a year. Whether I want one or not. And so I set out to build another fence. The truth of the matter is that I like to build stuff. Whether it is a fence or a birdhouse or words on paper, the act of creating something with my own hands is enjoyable. One problem with fences though is Murphy’s Law.


Murphy’s Law is that old saying, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Through the years there have been additions and corollaries to the law and even speculations as to the origins. I tend to think that Murphy was an engineer who just stated the obvious and got his name put down to an observation that has been obvious for ages. Regardless of who said what when, Murphy’s Law remains a constant in life. Especially when building something.


When building my fence, I could not help but think of Murphy and his law because it seemed that every time I dug a posthole, I hit a big rock. Naturally, I came up with my own corollary to Murphy’s Law. Murphy’s Law of digging postholes says, “Anywhere postholes are dug, there will be rocks.” While digging my own postholes, I could only think that even if my yard was full of beautiful loamy soil, I would still hit rocks with each downward thrust of my posthole digger. Rock after rock after rock.


All the big rocks were under the posthole digger in all but one of the holes. As a matter of fact, I was so excited with that particular hole that I dug it so deep that my post does not stick out of the ground quite far enough. Which brings us back to the original Murphy’s Law. Something did indeed go wrong. Still, life is good and I already know how to fix my mistake without pulling out the post. After all, I made the same mistake before. Last year when I built the first fence.


When all is said and done, we should have a beautiful fence. And we will have more rocks for our rock gardens as well. I am sure that there are more rocks in our yard because I have one more fence to build. According to Murphy, all the rocks will be where I need to dig the postholes for it.

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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