Ancient Document Dump: On the Passing of Steve Irwin.

Editor’s Note: Considering that I am completely lacking in inspiration, I thought I’d post another oldie from back in the day.  This one I wrote the night that I learned of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter’s untimely and tragic death.  Please understand that this is satire, and that I was actually deeply affected by Crocodile Hunter’s death — enough to dress like him for Halloween that year.

CNN trotted out its red “breaking news” banner.  The New York Times reported in stark black and white under the “News from AP” heading.  Steve Irwin had died, struck down by the cruel unthinking malice of a stingray barb through the chest.  The preliminary reports note the irony: Steve was filming a documentary to demonstrate his bravery around stingrays.  They do not note that the barb, slicing through his heart, is pregnant with metaphor, wielded as it was by one of nature’s murderous miscreants.

I spent a summer, several years ago, employed in a Discovery Channel Store at the Briarwood Mall.  I would spend each shift sitting on the counter behind the registers, chatting with an aspiring Marxist Prog-rocker (“my band’s major influence is Rush — now compare the time signatures on these songs by Tool and King Crimson”) and a failed Central Michigan University quarterback (“I’m waiting to hit it big in hearing aid sales, but you can’t do that until you are old.”)  As the boredom slowly smoothed over the folds in my cortex, Steve’s voice would rise above the din.  It spiraled out of the seven television sets spread throughout the store.  His giant face hovered above me on the tremendous flat-screen, beckoning me to begin the two-minutes hate against man’s greatest enemy, the crocodile.  I know Steve well.  He taught me to seek power and mastery over all of Noah’s dumb beasts.  He taught that this was God’s divine will.

See Steve struggle with the crocodile who unthinkingly stumbled into some Australian suburb.  Certainly, he could have just shot the fucker with a tranquilizer dart, later dumping its flaccid body into some gully in the interior.  However, Steve, like an Ahab in uncomfortably tight shorts, had a greater ambition.  He wrestled the crocodile to demonstrate his power.  He subdued it with his own hands and then set it free in the wilderness, as if to say, “here thou art home, malignant archfiend, but soon we shall overrun you with bulldozers and houses and then you and I shall again engage in combat.  And the next time we meet, demon, I shall eat your heart.”

So it is fitting that, as the Mighty Thor dies from the poison of the great serpent Jörmungandr at Ragnarok, Steve died locked in mortal combat with nature, his greatest nemesis.  And like Ragnarok, Steve’s run-in with a flat blob with a sharp tail that sits on the floor of the sea represents his on-going struggle to destroy nature for our future.  Bindi Sue will some day see a glorious future where steel stretches high into the coal-black sky and robots feast upon the flesh of kittens.  This future will be his legacy.  Let us all kill an animal today to avenge our fallen hero.

– September, 2006