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Survivor Loser Clings To Philosophy

The gang on "Survivor: Panama — Exile Island" is all one tribe now — but just how happy, well, we don't know.

Episode 7 saw the voting out of Nick Stanbury, a financial salesman from Tempe, Ariz., and the merging of the two tribes, Casaya and La Mina.

The new tribe is called Gitanos — Spanish for Gypsies. A traveling wish by the contestants, perhaps? Since there's no place to go except up or out.

Nick was on CBS' Early Show Friday, when there was an important question to be set forth: What did he throw to Cirie as he was leaving Tribal Council?

"I threw Cirie my socks," said Nick, and a fine gift it was because when you are stranded on a cold, wet island, there is no such thing as a sock that is too dirty or sweaty.

"They are warm and comfortable and a hand-me-down from Dan to me to Cirie," reported the outcast.

Why Cirie? After all, she voted Nick out.

"I know what it's like not to have those things out there," replied the kindly Nick. "I wasn't going to hold any grudges. Her socks were torn up."

Throughout Thursday night's episode, it appeared that Austin, not Nick, had a target on his back. And Nick agreed.

"It was a surprise to me to be voted out last night," he admitted.

So why him?

"Physical threat," said Nick. "You know, I surprised them during the challenge with, I guess, my strength, endurance, what have you. From then, it was, like they said in the meeting, Shane said, 'Look. We thought Austin was the main physical threat.' I think that spelled my demise."

Nick felt secure in his standing with the tribe but, as the weekly Secret Scene illustrated on The Early Show Friday, appearances can be deceiving. Everyone thought Austin was on the way out. (Even Austin himself thought so.) And in the Secret Scene, Nick said, "I'm crushed right now. It sucks. It's almost like if he (Austin) goes, I want to go."

As co-anchor Julie Chen pointed out, Nick kind of got his wish. "You had to go, but he stayed," she continued. "Does it sound like he's going to be the next one off?"

Replied Nick: "Could be. He's not looking so good right now. The Casaya tribe is convinced he's got the immunity idol."

Speaking of immunity idols, it sure looked like Terry, the leader of Nick's alliance of four, was behaving like a ratfink. Not only did he have the immunity necklace on but, in his pocket, he had the immunity idol that he got when he went to Exile Island. So it was in his power to save Austin or Nick.

So does Nick feel betrayed by his own leader?

"It's a game where even the greatest alliances are thin. He was looking out for himself," Nick said. "If I was in his position last night, I would have kept my mouth shut. If someone hadn't asked me if I had that immunity idol, I would have kept my mouth shut."

Nick said he hopes Terry will be the sole Survivor, and he hopes Terry and Austin are the final two.

Likewise, Nick's last bow on "Survivor" was somewhat high-minded — with no vitriol to spew at former tribemates (unlike at least one ousted contestant).

Nick's final words, as he was kicked out by the former Casayans among the Gitanos in a 6-4 vote, sounded a lot like a commencement speech and, perhaps for him, it was.

The 25-year-old passed on the chance for parting comments to the tribe and instead addressed himself to his entire generation.

"I urge us all, please: be hungry, be foolish, block out the noise, find yourselves, be who you potentially are and be true to your dreams and what you truly want to do," he said. "If we all maximize that personal freedom, then we'll change the world."

Such philosophy may be lost on those who remain, locked in a single focus on the million dollars to be won by the wiliest and toughest.

Flexible limbs are a big help, too.

Episode 7's Immunity Challenge saw the would-be winners hanging off poles like vampire bats — and falling to earth one by one, as their arms, legs and stomach muscles proved unable to duplicate the feat accomplished so easily by a tiny but fearsome jungle animal.

With a coveted individual Immunity on the line, the last vampires on the pole were the two former La Mina mates: Nick and Terry, 46, an American Airlines pilot and retired Navy fighter pilot. The pressure and stress proved too much for Nick, who finally relaxed his grip, handing Terry the first individual Immunity.

Medical moment: a swing of a machete caught Bruce when Nick, working with others to build a shelter, made a terrible miscalculation and accidentally hit Bruce, chipping his tooth.

Bruce, 58, a karate instructor and former survival trainer for police officers, soldiered on despite the wound.

"Psychologically," said Bruce, showing off his mettle, "I want to outwork them, outperform them and, when it comes to competition, I want to beat them all."

"It was just a sickening sound," said Nick, of the moment the blade connected with Bruce. "Initially, I thought, 'I'm gone! I just hit Bruce in the face. I'm out of here!' "

And now he is ready to move on. For Nick, the next big adventure will be law school.

"Education," he said, "is No. 1 right now for my life."

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