Steve Irwin, May He Rest
I personally think that "Animal Planet" is the best free and totally legal drug available to cable subscribers today. Whenever I get really down, I can count on a little sojourn to "AP" to lift my spirits. I get to see moist-eyed chimps swing around in the wild, and I get to see hometown boy Jeff Corwin run around with antelopes or catch frogs. "Animal Precinct" is an awesome show guaranteed to elicit cleansing tears, and my friend Steve Irwin could always be counted on to provide an hour of total entertainment flinging himself into the brush and emerging with a huge smile and some gargantuan snake around his neck. You never knew a snake could look sheepish until it had been wrangled by Steve Irwin.
Also, Steve had that great Australian accent that lent everything he said a wonderful "Gee Whiz" air. He was totally charming. Granted, we didn't think it was such a bright idea to hold his newborn baby in one arm while tempting a crocodile with a piece of chicken with the other, but he could be forgiven because it was just Steve being his crazy-ass nature maniac self.
And all's well that end's well in that situation, although his son might need a lot of therapy for that. Kids can be so cruel. They might call him "Croc Snack" someday.
It was probably last winter that I was eating popcorn with chili powder on it and watching Steve Irwin do the cha-cha with a python or something, when I said to my cat, "Ermengarde, mark my words. That man is going to have his ass handed to him by a cobra someday."
She nodded sagely. She is nodding sagely right now, in fact.
And so it goes. Steve was killed by an unfortunate encounter with a stingray on Monday, an animal that scares me so much I can't even see IMAGES of it on the television without needing an Ativan. Of course they keep showing the bloody things swimming around with their scary pre-historic pancake weird flappy selves -- could anything look any more ominous than those freaky critters, I ask you? And I keep getting tears in my eyes thinking about my Steve getting wacked upside the head by the tail of one of those bloody killer sea pancakes, and I'm just so sorry the fun is over for Steve, and for us.
Bless his heart. And rest his soul. Thanks for the memories, Steve Irwin.