I’ve always had a “thing” for numbers. In high school I practically sucked at every AP (Advanced Placement) exam I took with the exception of Statistics. I nailed Statistics like HeyZeus the carpenter and my University was, like, “Surprise! You get to skip collegiate statistics” and I was, like, “Surprise! You’re still going to charge me full tuition anyway so what does it really matter!” At any rate, that was around the time I learned to believe 50% of what I read and 0% of what I hear – which is the one statistic in my life that has never let me down. I like numbers so much that sometimes at work, I’ll eat my lunch in my office while perusing through metrics and pages worth of data thinking, “Mmmm. Numbers – so delicious.”
So when my inlaws came in for a visit and we decided to raft down the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon, the first thing I made sure to ask our river guide was, “What is the percentage of people that fall out of your raft on this route?” Which is really my way of saying, “Statistically, what are my chances of falling out of the raft, hitting my head on a rock, getting knocked unconscious which leads to my foot getting caught underwater and thus drowning?”
Our river guide replied, “I think the better question is how many people DON’T fall out of the raft?” Freakin’ optimists. I bet he poops rainbow glitter after a eating a half-full bowl of Sunshine and Cheerios first thing in the morning. And because I tend to believe 0% of what I hear, I was 65% convinced that I was going to die that day. So here it is… my “OMG I’m going to die” face:
I never realized how rafting is like mountain biking in that the gushy splishy-splashy white water rafting is like the mountain biking equivalent of smooth, flowy single track. And then there’s the lowest-recorded-water-levels-in-the-history-of-Colorado rafting which is the mountain biking equivalent to technical rocky uphills. Guess which one statistically has more raft flips? Yes, the one we went on. With water levels at a mere 87 cubic meters per second, we were dodging rocks and strategically trying to pass them. In fact, one rapid was named “Hemorrhoid” because according to our guide “it was a pain in the butt.” The rapid right after it was called “Kidney Stone” since it was “hard to pass.” BAZINGA! I’ll have to wait til next season to tackle the splishy-splashy Class IV rapids.
Water levels were so low that, at one point, a raft in front of us wrapped a rock jutting up out of the river and the 12 year olds in the raft had to JUMP OUT. It caused a bottle-neck effect upstream with 23 (yes, I counted) rafts which had me dreaming of Ben & Jerry’s “What a Cluster” while singing,
I guess the moral of the story is, “Before you actually die, do something that scares you into thinking you might actually die.” That way when you survive, you can be 100% pleased that you lived another day to enjoy a pint of “What a Cluster” one more time.