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Stingray Hunter, not so much


Imagine a world like Sherman's Lagoon or Liberty Meadows where the animals read newspapers and watch TV.


A big, fat, white crocodile, FRANK, sits are the breakfast table reading
the paper and enjoying his morning coffee. His wife, MABEL, is preparing

FRANK: Crikey!

MABEL: What now? (disinterested)

FRANK: Irwin's dead!

MABEL: Who now?

FRANK: Steve. Steve Irwin. You know, that blonde aussie git. Call's
'isself the "Crocodile Hunter". We been gunnin' for that cocky bastard
for years.

MABEL: Oh, right, right. Who got 'im? Lou? John? Oh, I bet it was that
new croc' down the marsh... what's his name? Jeb?

FRANK: Hold on, hold on. I'm readin'.

MABEL: Or was it Jed? No! That's it, it was Zed! Right? Or, Ned?

FRANK: What in the--?! I don't believe this.

MABEL: What now?

FRANK: A fuckin' Stingray got him. That's bullshit. He was *ours*.

MABEL: What's a Stingray?

So, in case you haven't heard the news: Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, is dead. He was stabbed through the heart by a Stingray a couple of days ago.

There are lots of people I know that are bummed about this. Frankly, I didn't like him very much. I found him quite annoying. (I grew up with Wild Kingdom, so I'm more of a Jim Fowler fan myself.) I also thought he took unnecessary risks. Unacceptable behavior for the father of two young children, in my opinion. Do I have to even mention the croc-feeding-while-holding-his-baby incident? (Oh, look, I did anyways.)

Not that I wished him any ill will, of course. (Well, I admit to pulling for the crocs once in a while, before Irwin had kids.) However, if you liked him then be bummed. That's ok. I'm not trying to change anyone's opinion of him. Feel what ya feel.

What gets me, though, is that I've run into a few people who are "shocked" or "surprised". Um, hello? The man took life-jeapordizing risks nearly daily as part of his job. It's how he got famous. Seems that people just took his apparent immortality for granted. Television inspired fame does weird things to people's perceptions of reality.

If Irwin hadn't been famous, his obituary would have read "44 year old amateur biologist and crocodile wrestler, killed by Stingray." The public reaction would have been more along the lines of: "No shit."