Skip to content


September 11, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished.”  (Clare Boothe Luce 1903 – 1987).  While I don’t know the context of the original quote and whether or not Mme. Luce was being cynical or humorous at the time it is a sentiment that pops into mind from time to time just like it did today.


Today I woke up and it was still dark out.  While not entirely pleasant this is not unusual during the winter months.  I opened the front door to retrieve the morning’s paper only to find that for some reason the paper had not yet arrived.  On the other hand at least three weeks worth of newspapers were scattered along my driveway sitting in the slush.  We have been pretty good about recycling and are sure to toss all of our paper and most of our cans into the recycling box and take them out to the curb the night before recycling is picked up just like the law requires.


The law however did not take into account the fact that we had an incredibly windy night and even windier morning — hence the newspaper collage on my driveway.  So I put on a pair of boots, threw a ski jacket over my night clothes and trudged out into the early morning cold to clean up the recycling mess and make sure that the newspaper carrier when he finally did arrive would not trip on the papers on my driveway and sue me as might conceivably be his legal right.


While I was bending over in a none-to-flattering pose a large dark shape zipped over my body where my head used to be and went flying out into the street where it smacked into a parked car.  The noise of course startled me causing me to drop all those wet papers to allow the wind to pick them up and redistribute them once again all over my driveway. I also noticed that the flying saucer was actually the lid of a garbage can that had been picked up by the wind and dented my neighbour’s car.


There were only two good things that could be said about that winter morning situation.  1) it wasn’t my car and 2) it wasn’t my garbage can lid.


According to law the owner of an object that causes damage is responsible for the damage that was caused by his or her object.  In this case when my neighbour came out to find a dent in his car he could theoretically claim damages from my other neighbour who owned the garbage can and its misbehaving lid.



A case could also be made that this was actually an event that was covered by the legal term “act of God” which is defined by Barrons dictionary as a”Violent and catastrophic event caused by forces of nature, which could not have been prevented or avoided by foresight or prudence.”  Since the damage to the car was caused by the wind the owner of a garbage can might escape liability according to this dictum.  On the other hand since we all knew that it was going to be a windy day perhaps the owner of the garbage can should have been sure to have retrieved his can and store it inside so that it would not cause damage.


In any case either one of them could turn the claim over to their insurance company who would most likely be required to pay since damage like this would normally be covered by both car owners and homeowners policies.


To put a lovely end to my early morning excursion when I later backed my car out of my garage I ran into my recycling boxes which had been emptied by the recycler and then blown off my yard into my driveway.  To add insult to injury when I got out to retrieve my crushed recycling boxes my hat blew off my head.  I just let it go allowing the wind to be the complete victor for the day all the while remembering that this had all begun by my trying to do the good deed of recycling.



From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: