GUMPERSON’S LAW ACCOUNTS for the fact that you can throw a burnt match out the window of your speeding car and start a forest fire, while you can use two boxes of matches and an entire edition of this newspaper without being able to start a fire under the dry logs in your fireplace.

Gumperson served as a consultant to the armed services during World War II and evolved the procedure whereby the more a recruit knew about a certain subject, the better chance he had of receiving an assignment involving some other vital skill.

The law, stated simply, is that the contradiction of a welcome probability will assert itself whenever such an eventuality is likely to be most frustrating.

Some of his better-known confirmations include:

• After a raise in salary, you will have less money at the end of each month than you had before.

• The girl at the racetrack who bets according to the color of the jockey’s shirt will pick more winners than the man who had studied the past performance of every horse on the program.

• Children have more energy after a hard day of play than they do after a good night’s sleep.

• The person who buys the most raffle tickets has the least chance of winning and only a slightly better chance than the guy who buys no tickets.

• A child can be exposed to the mumps for weeks without catching them, but can catch them without exposure the day before the family goes on a vacation.

• The dishwasher will break down the evening you give a dinner party for 10 people. Chances are, your toilet also will malfunction and your power will go off.

• The good parking places are always on the other side of the street.

There is no knowing to what further glittering heights Gumperson’s genius would have led him had it not been for his untimely death in 1947.

Strolling along the highway one evening, he was obeying the pedestrian rule of walking on the left facing traffic. He was struck down from behind by a Hillman-Minx driven by an Englishman visitor hugging the left side of the road.

*  *  *

MANY PEOPLE believe civility was an early casualty in our uncivil war because it is now considered a luxury of the privileged, not a matter of decency and respect for the views of others.

One has to wonder how long our society can survive the vitriol being generated by the cancel culture and group shaming movements. These mobs threaten to boycott innocent businesses and have people who express a contrasting opinion fired.

If we allow this cancer to fester, in 15 to 20 years, the public, including many of our children and grandchildren, will vilify their very own parents and grandparents for things like using fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal; for the eating of animal meats like beef, pork and poultry; and for the audacity of honoring our valiant ancestors who are now accused of committing crimes against humanity.

Cancel culture and group shaming are defined as the popular practice of withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something objectionable or offensive by current standards.

When people are shamed for their honest beliefs, it stifles debate and challenges the old order. We are being subjected to mob pressure that is destroying careers and ruining lives simply because someone supports a cause that doesn’t fit a particular group’s narrative.