or, “Man, I never would have said that!”
When people get nervous or feel pressure, they handle it in different ways. At big races or big rapids, I get quiet. I know, it’s hard to believe that Steve Thomas can be quiet.
I was in a van with a bunch of boaters riding up to do the Upper Nantahala. One guy whom I didn’t know was talking. “One thing I’m not worried about is my roll.” “Uh,” I’m thinking, “We are driving beside the river. Have you looked outside? Not a place to be talking about your roll!” I moved away — far away. In fact, if it weren’t for making people talk, I’d have moved right into the lap of the guy next to me.
Of course you know what happened next. Within 150 yards of putting on, this guy was in a hole, missed a roll, and had to swim out. I grabbed his paddle and literally had my hands full, two kayak paddles and some happening rapids.
There must have been some left over bad karma on the paddle shaft, because the next thing I knew, I was doing some unintended surfing (the hole gets bigger every time I think about it). As they say in the old Tarzan movies, “Bad Ju Ju!”
Well, after a bit I flipped, and as I went over I threw one paddle downstream, hoping it was the infected paddle and not mine. I rolled up out of the hole, the reason being that I had held on to my cootie-free, no-bad-karma paddle. Now you might think all this is just a coincidence. You really need more ironclad proof. Well, if you really need more “proof”, just contact me, Steve “Lucky” Thomas. (Should I have used the word “lucky”? Man, I shouldn’t have said that!)
May the force be with you….
by Steve Thomas
From The Eddy Line, February 2004