It was a diary writer from the Netherlands who made me aware of Steve Irwin. I never knew he existed until she asked me questions about him and said he was her son’s favourite TV personality.
Slowly, very slowly, he became famous in his own country but I never saw much of what he did. I read about him now and then. Like the time he was the centre of a big fuss because they said he held his baby son too close to a crocodile. They likened him to Michael Jackson and I scoffed. I couldn’t imagine Steve Irwin being anything like the surgically enhanced singer.
Over the past few years Steve Irwin became a familiar face on ads for various tourist things and, lately, in ads for quarantine but I never thought much about him.
Until I read the news he had been killed by a stingray barb to the heart.
It was a major shock to me because, for some strange reason, I actually believed Steve was as invincible as he seemed to think he was.
After the shock wore off his death seemed to make a twisted sort of sense to me. I’m no expert on the man but once fame moves into a person’s life it seems to me that any skeletons hiding in their closets very quickly get found.
People accused Steve Irwin of being a show-off, a larrikin, a dare-devil, irresponsible and so on but nobody ever, to my knowledge, accused him of being a liar, a cheat, a thief, a drunk, a drug addict or any of the multitude of shady things celebrities often make the news for.
Nobody ever came forth with a story about stunt doubles or affairs with other women. I never once read a story about Steve Irwin taking drugs, drinking too much, getting into punch-ups, breaking the law, getting it on with some other man’s woman, raping or gang raping some girl either currently or in his past.
As far as I can tell Steve Irwin was a man who loved. He loved his parents, his wife, his children, animals and his country.
He may have been one or more of the things he was accused of — a show-off, naive, irresponsible, a larrikin but it seems to me he was, most of all, a genuinely good man. Steve Irwin seemed to be a famous, genuinely good, man — the kind of man we have so few of. I suspect Steve Irwin may have been the kind of man who might have influenced impressionable kids to be genuinely good people when they grow up.
Satan hates that kind of person. I suspect it was Satan who frightened the stingray and drove that barb into a genuine, caring, loving heart because Steve Irwin was in the public eye proving you don’t have to be a sleaze to be famous!
My local newspaper published a cartoon that said exactly what I feel about this event.
The cartoon shows a crocodile, a kangaroo and many other animals all standing in a line looking in the same direction. On every animal face the cartoonist has drawn an expression of shock and dismay and above them one small word of distress.