Alright, the topic of tonight's Blog might be a little passé, but I really wanted to write about a prolific TV icon that we lost in the past month.
Early in September I was more than a little shocked to hear of the death of Steve Irwin, aka "The Crocodile Hunter". Why was I shocked? you might ask. After all, it was quite common to see the khaki-clad larger-than-life Aussie wrangling crocodiles, chasing poisonous snakes, or being bitten by reptiles and beasts of all varieties. I'll never forget the first time I ever saw him. It was in Grade 10 or 11 I believe, in Environmental Studies, and Mr. Awrey showed us a tape he'd recorded off the Discovery Channel of The Crocodile Hunter searching for the world's 10 most venomous snakes. I recall watching that tape with the rest of class, and we spent an hour gasping, jumping in our seats, and giggling nervously at this over-the-top man who was so energetic and...well...crazy! His constant cries of "Crikey!" and the way he'd hold one of the poisonous serpants and whisper, "Isn't she a beaut?" was just so unbelievable to us.
Over the years, though, Steve Irwin became a household name. Every night, on Discovery Channel or Animal Planet, one could watch him putting himself in the line of danger all so that he could get a close-up look at the wildlife he so loved. Aside from the adrenaline rush of watching him dodge close-call after close-call, Steve had a message for his audience - he was an environmentalist who adored those reptiles, wanting nothing but the best for them. He'd do anything to save a croc or turtle or something of the sort. Critics thought he meddled with the creatures and disrupted their natural habitats, but the people who know the Croc Hunter best said he'd never want to harm any living, breathing species. He was always looking out for their best interest, even if it put him in dire straits.
So why was I shocked when I heard he had been pierced in the heart by a stingray's barb and died? Shouldn't I have expected it? Shouldn't I have thought, "Well, it was bound to happen..."? But somehow, I didn't. I guess I just thought, after so long of watching and hearing about his daring exploits with unpredictable and treacherous reptiles and animals, that the man was invincible.
Alas, Steve Irwin was just an ordinary man, and while he might have considered himself lucky in many of the precarious situations he found himself in over the years, his luck eventually did run out. Last week, he was recognized by celebrities and ordinary folks worldwide in a memorial service at the zoo he and his family own in Australia. Today I was looking at pictures of his widow, Teri, and his children, Bindi Sue, 8, and Bob, 2, on the Internet. I felt for them. He was not just that crazy kook bounding around in the Outback. He was a husband and a father, with a family and a life. How must they feel now, knowing his passion for danger and his desire to help even the most voaltile creatures, resulted in his untimely demise? How can they move on, with such large character now absent from their lives?
It all comes down to this: The Crocodile Hunter was an icon - he made people laugh, he made people shriek and gasp, but most of all he kept un entertained and informed. He wanted to share with the world his love for nature, and give those of us at home in our armchairs an education about a world that most of us will never experience up close. His family have his legacy to be proud of, and to continue on in his honour.
He was a great guy. He was a legend.
He was the Crocodile Hunter.
And he'll be missed.