If you’ve been on the internet in the past couple of days, you’ve likely seen the story of how 21-year-old Rachel Borch of Hope fought off a rabid raccoon with her bare hands, a battle she ended up winning after drowning the animal in a puddle.
Needless to say, people loved the tale. The story was shared all over the country, including by major news organizations — ranging from Esquire to The Washington Post to Sports Illustrated — and was followed with comments from people quipping how “Maine” the story was. “Now THAT’S a Maine story!” wrote one person. And another, “This is so Maine! I love it.”
Truth be told, the story is indicative of not just one Mainer’s wits and ability, rather it encompasses many of the good qualities of people who count themselves Mainers. Borch unwittingly showed the rest of the nation what’s so great about the people in this state.
Resourcefulness. In Maine, we know how to use what we have and come up with creative solutions. With little time to react before the raccoon was already at her feet, Borch used the resources she had — in this case, some water on the ground and the potential sacrifice of her thumb. Who else would have thought to drown the raccoon in a puddle? Mainers, that’s who. Really brings a whole new meaning to “working with your hands.”
Unafraid of rugged wilderness. Tourists flock to Maine for our beautiful beaches and famous woods, but there’s another side to being surrounded by nature that Mainers deal with year-round. We have moose built like tanks, bears that can run twice as fast as us, and, in Borch’s case, a terrifying raccoon with tiny teeth, beady eyes and a thirst for blood. Borch came face to face with the wilderness and came out on top. As one Facebook commenter summed up nicely, “You gotta be rugged to live in Maine.”
Tough as nails. We deal with excruciatingly cold winters and an onslaught of snow. We face down tough situations — it’s why we don’t live somewhere warmer — with grit. Borch did what she had to do to survive. She knew a bite was inevitable, so she chose where it would bite her, even holding out her hand to the raccoon so it would latch on there. “Maine women are a special breed of badass” or even simply “Don’t mess with women from Maine!” others wrote on Facebook.
Darn good storytellers. Although the details of the attack were shocking, no one was all that surprised that it happened in Maine. We’ve got a host of other stories that seem like content you’d see on The Onion, but they are 100 percent true. For instance, let’s not forget the beaver who stole a rifle in 2013 or the woman who hit what she thought was a house cat in 2012 and brought the injured animal into downtown Bangor — only to find out it was a bobcat.
One commenter posted on Twitter, “A woman drowning the rabid raccoon that bit her might be the most Maine thing ever. Probably punched a moose and snagged a lobster after.” Frankly, you might see those as news stories in the future. Borch’s story captivated the nation, and it’s a perfect example of how interesting it is to live here. At the end of the day, we always have a good story to tell.