September 4th, 2006

Halloween Cat

In which I think about Steve Irwin

For all the silly antics; for all the crazy stunts; for all the jokes and parodies and laughs, I think I really liked the ol' Crocodile Hunter most because beneath it all, he really, honestly, loved those animals. They didn't have to be "cute fuzzies." They didn't have to be impressive predators. They just had to be alive, and he loved them. Sure, he did silly things. He was an absolute nut - despite which, I thought he'd end up being one of those battle-scared fellows who died peacefully of old age - and he could get completely freak-out crazy on camera. That was entertainment. But when it came down to it, he loved those animals he was working with. I remember an episode I was watching where Steve and his crew came upon a nest of snakes who had been hurt by a wildfire. The survivors were trying to cross the road to make their home elsewhere. I watched him as he did everything he could to save those snakes - some of them badly burned - and how much it affected him when he came across hurt or dead ones. They were just little grass snakes. Most people wouldn't have even noticed them. But he noticed, and he cared. I even think his baby son was 100% safe when he carried the baby into the pen with him to feed crocs, despite the outrage that caused (I certainly think he was safer than another baby dangled by a famous father).

By all accounts, it was a totally freak accident. Had the barb hit him anywhere else it would have hurt, but it wouldn't have killed him. But it hit the heart, and that's all she wrote. He died doing something he loved, and I have a feeling that, like Roy Horn, his first thought about the accident would have been to not blame the animal.

So good on ya, mate. It was nice to know ya a little.
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