And so we continue with the different methods of falling in a river, and their entertainment value.
The next fall is the “Off The Bank Fall.” This fall requires a well-beaten path winding along the deep side of the river, with the ground under the path eroded away. All that is needed now is a fisherman with sufficient weight for the path to cave away. Unlike the “Now You See Him, Now You Don’t Fall,” this fall can be very entertaining. As the ground gives way the victim’s first reaction is to grab for whatever is available to stop the fall. But this brings to play another law of nature. While falling in a river anything grabbed must either uproot or break off. No exceptions. During one such fall I wrapped my arms around the security of a twenty-foot cedar tree. The tree instantly uprooted. This is when I learned that falling in off a bank can be a great crowd pleaser. But a twenty-foot cedar tree crashing down on that person while in the water is the makings of folklore that will be retold for years to come.
The next fall, and probably enjoyed by witnesses more than all others, is the “Over The Water Fall.” The higher one is over the water, the better. This fall requires a wind-fallen tree that looks like an excellent avenue to cross a fast and deep-running stretch of the river. It also helps if the tree has bark that is both loose, and has a slimy under coating. I can remember one such incident happening to me. It began with me doing a fine balancing act until I reach exactly mid-span. It was then that the bark gave way and my feet left the log. What happened next was only a blur to me, but those present were more than happy to fill me in on the details. According to them I did a wonderful one and a half gainer with a full cart-wheel. Though some wanted to give me poor marks because of the loose extensions of my body parts, they graciously overlooked my form because of the large piece of my person left hanging on a sharp stub during the downward plunge, the decimal level of the agonized scream thereafter, and the quality of the splash on entry.
And that brings to mind another aspect that must be remembered. the possibility of being entertainment to those anglers down stream who weren’t able to share in the joy of the initial fall. With a fast-moving current one can tumble and roll into the next drift downstream. And because boots on the lower body can hold pockets of air and push the feet to the surface, and the water-soaked upper body tends to sink, by the time one floats into the slower deeper waters he is usually in the upside down position, with only the bottoms up the boots visible. For the onlookers this can be confusing rather than entertaining. This is why I occasionally push myself to the surface to wave at the crowd between cough, gags and gasps for air. Those on the bank show their appreciation with smiles and waves in return.
A real crowd pleaser is the “Take A Friend With You Fall.” And if done in combination with the “Over The Water Fall” can bring standing ovations and curtain calls, if the latter were possible. This first requires one person in the first stages of falling in, and a fishing buddy close enough to grab hold of in an attempt to stop the fall. But just like the “Off The Bank Fall” where anything grabbed either uproots or breaks off, said friend always becomes part of the fall, not to mention the entertainment. Though these falls are seldom if ever synchronized in any shape or form, the onlookers will still squeal with delight. But don’t expect the fishing buddy to have the same gleeful reaction. Seldom will he appreciate being a part of the entertainment. In fact, while floating down stream he will probably be more than happy to give you his thoughts concerning your family lineage. And after two such falls will most likely begin keeping a distance from you most easily measured in light years.
Now being retired, I have found that further research on the subject of falling in a river could have far more dire consequences than in my younger years. So I am passing on these findings to my readers, so that other methods of falling in might be added. But as of yet no one has thought of any form of falling in a river I have not already used. I suppose I have to accept the fact…I am a legend.