Steve Irwin, better known as "The Crocodile Hunter" died as he lived, shouting about wildlife.
A little "Crocodile Hunter" went a long way and it was easy (and fun) to overdose. I remember my son's first exposure. He was home sick from school and when I got home from work and sat with him on the couch he attempted to "trap" me. First he covered me with a red and yellow afghan my grandmother had made for me and then he tried to haul me away with his "Li'l Builder" crane. I asked him what he was doing and he jumped on me (sick no more apparently) and said, "Quiet, ya big croc! I'll get ya!"
Irwin was a big man, who's calming whispers would have been a bellow coming from a lesser bloke. I envied him. During the 2004 brouhaha over his holding his son near a crocodile I could only think how cool for the little Croc kid. His dad was famous and played with cool animals. The closest equivalent for my son is when I bring him to my office and let him use the stapler - he might staple his sleeve to my desk calendar.
My mom only exacerbated my envy. A retired social worker, her professional call was that Irwin was the best judge of whether a crocodile posed a danger to his son and would have let it go at that. On the other hand, she has opined that my letting my five year old watch Seinfeld reruns is child abuse.*
If there is an afterlife, I hope it has cable. Because the outsized, blustering Irwin could team up with the sagacious Fred Rogers for an eternity of the greatest children's programming of all time.
Meanwhile, all of Australia is in mourning. Suddenly they are short of international celebrities (Paul Hogan proving to be a washout and Mel Gibson just being too weird.) Hopefuly the Australian government is taking the appropriate measures to protect the Wiggles.
*I may have brought this maternal judgement on myself. I taught my son to greet his grandmother by narrowing his eyes to a slit and saying, "Hello Newman." (My mom's name isn't even Newman.)