03/08/2013 at 04:00 PM EST
Shamar Thomas only lasted four episodes of Survivor
but he got in more arguments with fellow contestants than most castaways do all season long.
Despite his combativeness
, he was in a solid alliance until he was medically evacuated from the game on Day 10.
Thomas, a 27-year-old veteran of the USMC, talks about his experience, his injury, and what he would change about his time on the show.
You were evacuated for an eye injury. How bad was your eye?
Actually, my eye wasn't all that bad, but I had injured my finger. That was behind a lot of my anger. My eye healed right up, but my finger is still crooked. I was in the hospital for six days and had surgery on my finger. My finger is still disfigured and scarred.
Okay, but for whatever reason, you were medically evacuated.
I was so devastated to be taken out by injury. I felt like I had let my tribe down.
Well, they seemed kind of happy you were gone. You were pretty combative.
I can't lie about me telling people to shut up, because I did. But if you watch the show, a lot of people picked fights with me, too. People were argumentative with me. Everything I said, they took the wrong way. I told Eddie that his rice wasn't fully cooked, and it became a big deal. You don't see me approach anybody with malice or anything.
Could it have been the way you talked to people?
In my personal life, I'm an activist. I'm not shy about who I am. So I came out there with that attitude, to be direct and honest. If I had been 5'5" tall and 110 pounds, it would have been taken differently. But I'm a big 300-pound guy, and I think they were just intimidated.
But it seems like your entire tribe had a problem with you at some point.
How is a guy who sleeps 19 hours a day going to get in so many fights?
So you did sleep a lot? Were you really that lazy?
I wasn't lazy. I was conserving my energy for challenges. Once we built the shelter, all we had to do was boil water every day. There wasn't a lot we had to do. So my other tribesmates were getting in the boat or going rock climbing without shoes. Not me. I was conserving energy, because I wanted to be strong for the tribe.
Did you make any attempt to assimilate into the rest of the tribe?
I initially tried to make a bond with Eddie, but that didn't work. It's very easy to target the one guy who's different. I don't put up with any crap, but I don't like confrontation. So when people were bothering me, I'd go to the shelter to avoid them, and they'd follow me. And I'd be like, 'Why are these people always talking to me? They won't stop talking to me. I wish they'd go away.'
If you could do the whole thing over again, what would you change?
I'd bring a six-pack. And other than that, I wouldn't change anything.