Accidents, believe it or not, do happen

There are no accidents.

I am not saying that sentence in the sense that everything happens for a reason. I do not know whether that is true or not true. No, I say there are no accidents, anymore. Once that was the case.

My body has scars that have been with me through much of my life.

Weird little first-finger top? It was an accident. Believe me!
Weird little first-finger tip? It was an accident. Believe me!

Take a look at this finger picture.

It’s my finger. And I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you.

Well, if you were a 5-year-old inquisitive kid who just HAD to see if he could make the belt stop on my Father’s Shop Smith table saw. You might cry. Or maybe not. All I remember is all that freaking blood coming from the top of my finger.


And, naturally, I wasn’t supervised. Well, I was “supervised” by my older brother. He was 13 or 14 then. He was using a buffer-type attachment to the saw to buff his shoes. And what a pretty shine his shoes had. I guess. He was, after all, cutting the table saw off! I don’t think I got any blood on his shoes. Jeez, what a mess. My brother Robert passed away last April he was the one buffing his shoes. My brother John died about two months later. He was the one who, while visiting a cousin picked a shotgun from up off a rack and decided to do some remodeling of our cousin’s home. He missed me, the child standing on the other side of the wall, by not very much. Of course, my brothers’ recent deaths had nothing to do with what child safety advocates today would be doing flips over. Take it easy everyone! These were accidents. Nothing but accidents. Parents with five boys cannot be five places at once! “Lib, you take those two and I’ll take these three,” I could hardly imagine my Pop saying to my Momma. “We’ll put a rope around them all.”

No they couldn’t do that. If it was today they’d end up on the 6 o’clock news for ropin’ the kids. But Holy Moses Lincoln-Mercury! Whatever happened to accidents?

An interesting aside. The belt almost severed the top of my finger. It was just hanging by very thin skin. My doctor cleaned it thoroughly. Then he put the top of my finger back on my index where it belonged. Nary a stitch was used. And my finger grew back, rather ugly. But it grew back. I can still smell the hydrogen peroxide the doctor flooded my finger with that Sunday afternoon.

Up in the East Texas Pineywoods near the place where I grew up, a man driving a tractor-trailer the other day ran into the back of a stopped school bus. The 72-year-old Louisiana man who was driving the pickup reportedly dozed off for a split second and struck the Kirbyville school bus. Maybe a half-dozen students were taken to the hospital though none were seriously hurt. It was said the gentleman driving the truck went to the hospital to check on the kids. One of those commenting on the story on local media said one of the kids the man went to check on was his daughter and the father had a lot of empathy for the driver, who reportedly was told to leave.

A number of people were apparently outraged that state troopers filed felony injury to a child charges on the driver. A felony charge! The 72-year-old could be sent away for up to two years in prison if convicted. And why was this? Was the driver drinking? No, said the troopers. Was he on druuuggggssss? No. No. The man nodded off. Has that ever happened to anyone before?

There’s a meme that has gone around Facebook asking mostly us Boomers how on Earth did we ever survive as children? Our parents let us stand up in the seat with no seat belts and car seats were as foreign as tofu back then. Why my parents, let us boys ride in the back of our pickup truck all the way from East Texas to Houston and back one time. How dare they? And we just loved it! And we loved them.

We’ve come to a point in the road where the concept of “an accident” has gone the way of riding our bikes all over town as kids and coming home on hot summer nights when it turned dark. There is nothing wrong with safety and saneness and all of those “s” words. But having an ogre in every story seems as if it is a coping mechanism for the insecure. No we shouldn’t tear down our fences and let the whole world’s kids play in our swimming pools unattended. Yes, we have car seats and seat and lap belts. And we should use them.

We also need to realize that someone might be to blame when something bad happens and some folks may not. We have to realize that there are accidents. And that they happen and sometimes we just can’t do anything about it.

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