Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Accidents don't just happen

Wick’s World


The raccoon was the size of a barnyard sow and suddenly our Toyota Prius had shrunk to the size of a VW Beetle. Too late to hit the brakes, the head-on collision was anything but pretty. Neither was the estimate of $2,450 to fix the bumper, the grill, the splash pans, the condenser and air conditioner.

I began to wonder about the old adage, “Accidents don’t just happen, they are caused.”

For over 40 years, I have lived my life by a law of my universe that says, “There is no such thing as an accident — everything happens for a reason.”

Head-on collisions with monster raccoons can make a man quickly question his philosophy of life. I understood the meaning last winter when I rolled my car while driving too fast on a loose gravel road (note: I was not speeding) and breaking my back. I felt the message was that I was still living my life in the fast lane even though I had been somewhat retired for seven years. The truth was I never had slowed down and was living my life more rushed than ever. I had three small businesses going and I loved working hard, making lots of money for myself.

The week after meeting the raccoon, I again found myself heading back to Moose Lake from my Eagan home. I was heading north on I-35E and was rapidly approaching the I-694 crossover. On my right was a large semi and on my left was a passenger car of unknown origin. Traveling about 70 mph, I found myself in the middle lane, sandwiched between the other two vehicles. In a flash, a wheelbarrow appeared in my lane. I couldn’t go left and I couldn’t go right. This was a large size construction wheelbarrow and I knew I couldn’t just drive over the huge contraption.

Fortunately, my window was rolled down because my air conditioner wasn’t working that warm morning. Remember our friend the raccoon? I flung my arm out the window and began waving frantically at the driver to my left. At the last second, I swerved out of my lane and into his, hoping the driver had also seen the wheelbarrow and would react accordingly. Lady Luck was on my side. I swerved, he swerved and I clipped just enough of the wheelbarrow tire to leave a tiny black mark on my fender.

So how do you explain the "accidents happen for a reason" theory when one of the parties involved is a giant raccoon or a construction company’s wheelbarrow?

Did the raccoon sacrifice his life just so he could damage my new car in retaliation for the hot pepper spray I put on my bird feeder to keep him the heck off it?

Did the wheelbarrow develop a consciousness so it could scare the heck out of me for all the times I swore at it while hauling cement to my bricklaying dad and uncle?

I highly doubt anything that cosmic happened. If there was a reason behind these incidents, I have yet to realize what it is.

Yeah, accidents don’t just happen, they are caused. The cause was a raccoon that ran into the road. Besides, my wife was driving the car that time. As for the wheelbarrow, I’ll just call that an accident that was about to happen but never did. Maybe the wheelbarrow changed its mind.


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