Canadian Musician


James Linderman

Murphy’s Lesser Known Dictums by James Linderman

Murphy’s Lesser-Known Dictums: by James Linderman

Unfortunately I am not the author of these sayings (see list below) and at this writing I do not know who is. A quick Yahoo search did not reveal authorship but I am sure that it was written by someone smart enough to not hope to make a living off of the royalties paid for writing clever sayings and posting them on the internet.

These kinds of saying, however, are very valuable to those of us who write songs; as we are always trying to attempt to get better and better at coining clever phrases. It is suggested that we read a lot of this kind of writing (not exactly torture to those of us with a songwriters usual sense of the ironic) and practice writing like this to build up a collection of lyric hooks. They do not always have to be funny but they should follow this same kind of manipulation of meaning. It is valuable to keep a collection in a notebook or journal to be able to refer to them in writing sessions.


Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don’t.

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

The 50-50-90 rule: Anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there’s a 90% probability you’ll get it wrong.

The things that come to those who wait will be the things left by those who got there first.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day drinking beer.

The shin bone is a device for finding furniture in a dark room.

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

When you go into court, you are putting yourself in the hands of 12 people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty.

If you come up with an original  Murphy’s Law that you want to share, please feel free to send it to me and I will credit it to you if I use it in a future article on this topic.

James Linderman teaches guitar and piano and coaches songwriting in studio in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada and to students all over the world over Skype. He is an ambassador to The Berklee College of Music and a popular music journalist. Contact James at

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