Everyone at some point has a “had my shorts ripped off in that rapid” story- and if ya don’t, well, you’re not trying hard enough.
I have led a pretty charmed life with regard to watching the excitement embroiled in this sport- suits me, I like to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my time on the stage (pole not included)….but thankfully with fewer and fewer engagements these days. As my favorite dirtbag mantra goes: “At some point the Rodeo transitions to Disco” and this old Lady is allll about looking sharp in her sequins and not spilling her cheap beer. At any rate, several years back I was part of a group of folks who hit the Dirty Bird, also known as the Pigeon River, every Tuesday. Our mission- to spend an hour or 2 tossing back beers on ***Jerry’s Rock *** hollering at friends who had to work, taking notes on greenie guide lines for harassment around the campfire later, inducting striders into the Secret Society of the Turtle and generally enjoying the scenery. From Jerry’s Rock we float down stream with much less attention to detail, style or consequence (- hell, it IS the Pigeon, insert smart ass remark about Walt Disney designing the ride here….) to find other oases for our shenanigans. Since the washout of SnapDragon and Lost Guide in the mid-90s the only real excitement on the river is Double Reactionary Rapid. It’s directly above the only “approved” surf hole , Super Glue, and the only curl out there that any self respecting dirtbag will go big in…what’s the worst that can happen, right?! It’s the Pigeon.
This one particular day I was out in front, asleep (or drunk) on the T-Grip and completely through the wave and into the eddy below before waking up and reminding myself that I should be a good girl and be trip aware- so I turned up stream just in time to watch my girlfriend drop in and TITS TO THE SKY back ender her Shredder HUGE! Wow- I can honestly say it was epic. Her boat pops out of the hole, no hot chic on the tube. Well, surely she will surface any second now. The uptight guides waiting restlessly in the downstream eddy for their 30 seconds of surf fame and fireside stories were boring holes in my head with their passive aggressive laser beam emitting stares, followed shortly by increasingly high pitched shouts encouraging me to “grab her boat!” The old skooler in me knows that you only do that when it’s absolutely necessary- give the girl a chance to collect her stuff why don’t ya! Oh- wait, there’s a helmet…no girlfriend. Hey, there’s her paddle….no girlfriend. Alright, alright already! I’m picking it up…( Yard Sale!) No sooner did I have her helmet and paddle in hand and Black Baby yoked and headed into the custy saturated eddy across stream did I hear a ROAR of applause and cheers. I look up in enough time to see my girlfriend standing on the rock just upstream of the 25 boats waiting to surf in Super Glue – stark naked, motioning with both hands in a not so necessary but poetic ‘V’ to accentuate the obvious…..her well manicured and enviously youthful in appearance “female” part sans shorts…. (The potty mouth trapped inside me is kicking and screaming at that statement right now). To add even more entertainment value to this scene she is yelling at me and I quote “I’ve got NOTHING!!” and then she drops down behind the rock she is standing on, shielding her front parts from those of us downstream and totally exposing her backend to those who are paddling into the situation. Now the cheers are coming from upstream too.
I casually paddle to shore and yell at her to make her way downstream to me. I have all the gear and a skirt she can borrow till the take out. This statement takes about 2 minutes to settle in then she pops up from behind the rock and leaps into the Purple Puma of a mutual friend of ours who is out play boating with his girlfriend that day. I am convinced at this point that what I am witnessing could not possibly get any better, and then it did. She settles on the bow of the boat facing the stern and braces in with a foot on either side of the front cross tube…oh, HELLLLOOOOOO! Good and wedged in, she points down stream to me and instructs our friendly friends to take her downstream to her gear. Our mutual buddy and his girlfriend have no choice but to oblige at this point. This was MONEY!! I have NEVER enjoyed a moment quite like this before…watching dude, eyes to the floor-blindly guiding his fully clothed girlfriend with her purposeful , scary and silent “if you look at it you’re a dead man” stare that never wavered from his temple and mine, naked from the jacket down blissfully letting the oyster breathe!!! When she arrived next to me she nimbly mounted her Shredder, casually pulled on my skirt and inquired if we should mosey on downstream like nothing had happened. Really?!! That’s right kids….Your junk has a 50/50 chance at being what the rest of us have. (Except hers is WAY prettier- trust me!!!) At the end of the run she had only one comment about the experience, her boating boy-shorts had a pumpkin face on the backside, not a piece of apparel you can easily replace and she would sorely miss them pumpkin eating pants…I gave her a pair of ‘Gucci boy shorts I had the week after, sadly, minus the smiling gourd though.
Aim at losing your shorts in every rapid kids and Landscape in between swims.
***(To reach Sainthood in Hartford TN you must first be a total badass visionary and THEN ride your horse, drunk, off a bridge late at night- to the great liquid beyond….then we name a rock after you. Jerry’s Rock is the biggest in the river…an extension I tell you NOT compensation)*****