Like most people, when I heard news that Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died, I immediately went online to check the main news outlets to see if it wasn’t a hoax. Sure enough, much to my shock and horror, it really happened. I was really floored. I was saddened by Richard Pryor’s death, he meant a lot to me as a comedian who never failed to crack me up, and the same with Rodney Dangerfield. But Steve Irwin was more involved in my life, as I had watched so many of his shows, seen so many interviews with him, and a couple of documentaries about him.
I know everywhere you go, whether online, on television, even the ballpark people are talking about him. Some may even be getting sick of hearing about it. However, I’d like add my own thoughts to the whole thing, so bear with me.
Sure, it was likely inevitable that he would get killed, and most everyone thought it’d be by a crocodile. It still doesn’t make it fair, because he was making such a positive impact with so many people, no matter how young or old they are. Steve Irwin gave me a newfound appreciation towards some of the more unsavory wildlife out there, and he also showed that you can be deeply passionate about your job and still have fun. To lose him really creates a void in the world where someone left such a footprint on everyone. My roommate, being female, thinks all snakes are yucky and evil, but Steve Irwin has changed her mind somewhat, and that, my friends, is a huge deal.
There’s been some who called him a careless daredevil, a thrillseeker who was pushed more and more to do dangerous stunts for better television ratings. Steve himself said he does that to himself, he’s always challenging himself. We all do it, if we never challenged ourself, we’d become complacent and bored in our life. However, I don’t think he belongs in the usual classification of daredevils/thrillseekers. He was calculated, smart, and careful. He was as much a proud father as a conservationist. He always had experts on hand when he was dealing with animals he wasn’t too intimately familiar with, and always did research beforehand. It’s not like he was tempting fate unneccesarily just for the adrenaline, he was doing it for a good purpose.
One last thing, something that has me a bit annoyed. I’ve heard a lot of Australians online and in the media complain about Steve Irwin. They say his accent is exaggerated, that he’s a flamboyant showman, and people outside of Australia ask them if they have a crocodile in their backyard because of them. They regard him as an embarrasement to the country.
Which shows me how utterly shallow a lot of Australians are. Boo-frickety-hoo! Because I’m American, people think President Bush and automatically assume I’m stupid and arrogant. People that paint such a broad brush don’t even get a second thought from me. If they’re so stupid as to assume something so asinine, then I’m stupid if I let them affect me and my attitude.
I’m going to miss Steve Irwin a lot, and I can’t begin to imagine how painful this is for his wife, Terri, and their two kids. The little girl, Bindi, is old enough to be severely affected by this news, and my heart goes out to that family. Steve has done so much for the planet, for Australia, and on top of it all, he was a great dad. He’s a hero a lot of people will sorely miss.
I imagine he’s in Heaven right now, approaching an angel, touching their wings, and saying, “Crikey! Ain’t she gorgeous!?!?”