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Monday, September 04, 2006

RIP, Steve Irwin

I logged on about an hour and a half ago, to be greeted by the sad news of Steve Irwin's untimely and tragic death. Sadly, I can't claim to be surprised in any way. In fact, I stopped watching his shows a couple of years ago, because of a growing unease. At the core of my discomfort was a growing sense of the unevitable, that one day, Steve Irwin would be killed by his own enthusiasm. And horribly, it's happened, at just forty four years of age. What an absolute waste.

The irony is that he was killed by a stingray, not the snake or crocodile I expected to get him one day. The stingray is generally a non-aggressive creature, and only attacks when it feels threatens. Steve Irwin is only the third person known to have been killed by a stingray in Australia. The most recent death, until now, was in 1945. It seems he was incredibly unlucky. The stingray's barb, a defence mechanism on the end of its tail, shot under his rib cage and pierced his heart. Stingray barbs can cause wounds of up to 20 cm. Effectively, he got stabbed in the heart. Doctors attending said he had non-survival injuries.

When I worked at NTL, a crew from the Animal Planet channel visited the call centre for a couple of days. They brought various creepy crawlies with them: spiders, snakes, scorpions, lizards and such like. The bravest I got was when I held a Burmese python, and an Australian lizard, which scratched me with its claws. A blue-toed skink, I believe the little bugger was called. The tarantulas looked too tickly, and the scorpions made me want to puke, so I refused to touch them.

The conversation got around to Steve Irwin. The guy who was trying to persuade me to hold a harmless, stingless scorpion, had worked with him a number of times. He described Steve as a really good guy, manic and hyperactive, exhausting to be around as a result, but a truly nice guy.

I guess the only positive aspect to his death, is that he died doing what he loved the most, filming a documentary, and communicating his passion for wildlife to the world at large. I have the utmost sympathy for his family at this terrible time. I especially feel for his two young chldren. When I was eight, my father died suddenly, at a similar age to Steve Irwin. I can imagine the bewilderment those children will feel for a long time to come, as they struggle to understand where their daddy has gone. I just hope their mother keeps away from dangerous creatures from now on, however tempted she is to keep her husband's work alive. The loss of one parent is quite enough. Too much, in fact.

RIP, Stevo, you'll be sadly missed.

1 comment:

The Pig's Lip said...

I too was very saddened at his death. He had such enthusiasm for life it just seemed so tragic.