Well, there goes another of my childhood heroes; Steve Irwin, more famously know as The Crocodile Hunter, died Monday morning after being stung in the chest by a stingray while filming an undersea documentary, wire services are reporting. I tuned in regularly to the Crocodile Hunter’s show on Animal Planet, where he ventured into various exotic locales in search of bizarre creatures that often left me in complete fear. But Steve Irwin wrestled with all these terrifying creatures, never once showing any real terror. In fact, he seemed to enjoy sparring with said beasties, whether they were venemous cobras or giant sharks. I mean, just take a look at how fearless (read: nuts) he is during one of his zoo performances with a crocodile:
But Steve Irwin was much more than a crazy guy who fought large reptiles. He became a cultural phenomenon. I’ve seen the Australian’s face plastered on all sorts of products, from action figures to valentine cards. He’s made countless guest appearances in TV shows and movies, ranging from Dr. Doolittle 2 to a special movie with fellow Aussie superstars The Wiggles. He had his own feature length film, for crying out loud. If Jeff Corwin dangled his daughter in front of a crocodile, would anyone care? But Steve Irwin was so recognizable that the media went nuts when he actually did that! I wanted to post the Fed-Ex ad the Croc Hunter starred in a few years back, but it isn’t really appropriate (basically, Steve gets bit by a snake, but, since he doesn’t use Fed-Ex, can’t get the ancedote in time. The ad ends with him succumbing to the venom…yeah, too soon). Instead, here’s a clip of Irwin calmly holding a critter that would cause most normal individuals to vomit just looking at it;
Every week, I watched Steve Irwin jump into rivers and wrestle crocs. And he loved every moment of it. You could tell, by his unbridled enthusiasm, how much he truly enjoyed what he was doing. Steve Irwin taught me that, besides the fact I shouldn’t play with venemous snakes, that it is possible to live your life doing what you are truly passionate about.
Rest in peace, Steve Irwin, you will be truly missed. Crikey : (