“Anti-Murphy’s Law” Club

There should be a term which describes the following phenomenon: your car has been making worrisome noises intermittently, and when you get frustrated enough to bring it to the mechanic, it miraculously ceases making any suspicious sounds. You rev the car, you drive it around the block, you take it on the highway, you hit the brakes super hard, and still no noise.

Is there a term befitting this enigma in the English language? I would assume the Germans or the Chinese have a perfect descriptor phrase, but how do I describe this more succinctly? It’s the anti-Murphy’s Law: you want something to go bad and it refuses to cooperate!

Another example of this paradox: I have a tooth which hurts sporadically. I had a root canal in this molar two years ago and the dentist assured me all the nerves in the tooth were dead and I would never feel sensation in it again. Wrong. Consistently, (occasionally) it starts to throb, a level 2 pain to be honest, but not a zero level either, as promised. The x-ray technician took three different images, all at various angles, to confirm the tooth was in fact, dead. “All looks stable,” she said as she complimented my ability to keep my teeth clean while also pointing out mild dental abrasion where I brushed too hard. The perfectionist in me will not rest until I have no feeling at all in the tooth. “Show me where it hurts,” the dentist said. But of course, it hasn’t hurt at all in the last three weeks since I’ve made the dentist appointment. Please give me the name for this scenario.

Finally, the technical version; maybe the biggest mystery of all. My iPad wouldn’t update the apps. Each time I tried, the device prompted me for two passwords in succession; it would accept the first one, but reject the second – even though they were the exact same password. I tried resetting the password – three times unsuccessfully and it locked me out of my account. Mike from AppleCare tried to help; he guided me through a reset to restore factory settings. I backed up the information on the iCloud, plugged the gadget into my computer, apple logos lit up and dimmed down, spinning wheels and status bars came and went, and eventually something was downloaded and updated. I did this twice, with Mike calling me back after each time. The technology repair was an epic fail, but on a social level, I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Mike from the mountains of Colorado. I appreciated his calm demeanor (Duh, Colorado) and loved hearing about his 11-year-old daughter’s shopping habits at Justice and his obsession with taking photos of his two cats! Would you believe it? Oh, and his wife should actually be the technician, nudge, nudge, because she used to work for Apple and create their memes. (Apple has memes?) We logged over 2.5 hours of call time, and the iPad seemed on the mend. Round 3: Enter the password once, success. Enter it a second time, fail. Not authenticated. Rejected. Locked Out. Mike’s last order of business was to schedule an appointment at the Genius Bar of the Apple Store.

The next day I arrive with my machines, fully charged and my passwords documented so I don’t forget them in a nervous moment. Patrick, father of an 8-month-year-old baby girl, but not married to her mother because “he’s not very religious,” was extremely helpful. We turned on the iPad and saw it automatically updating apps as if in delayed obedience. Showing off in front of the Apple Tech, making me look like an idiot. I clicked “Update Apps” in front of Patrick, yielding the dreaded Enter Password prompt. “Watch this, Patrick!” I enter my complicated, mixed case, with a number AND a symbol password and wait for the next prompt, which NEVER COMES! The little pie shape appears over the App icon and it fills up, first a quarter, a half, three-quarters, complete! The iPad is happy as can be. “OK, Play this way,” I think. I try to download a new app. “Now, watch this, Patrick!” I click to download Piano Tiles, (do it, it’s fabulous) and it asks me for the password, I enter it, and the craziest thing happened: it downloaded just fine.

I test the device. I want it to break on me; disallow me something. Tell me Failure to Communicate. Give me the “Cannot Connect to App Store” message one more time! Lock me out! Something, anything. But nope, within the magic walls of the clinical white and silver store, the iPad behaved flawlessly. Just like the car. Just like my tooth.

6 thoughts on ““Anti-Murphy’s Law” Club

  1. Thank you so much Jessica; thanks for writing. It’s such a process to do it everyday and put myself out there, in the ether and hold my breath hoping it resonated somewhere with someone. Thanks for reading!

  2. I call that the “Breathing Factor” – as soon as someone more technical than you breaths on the problem, it gets fixed! (Glad to know it is not just me.) :o)

  3. Loved your blog post, and this happens to everyone, it’s annoying when it happens and you can’t make it happen again. This type of phenomenon I call a “glitch”

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