The Deep End

The first time I saw Steve Irwin was when he'd just rescued a wayward croc in an island village. To chill out afterwards he went for a surf. In his khaki shorts. And safari shirt. And his work boots. I couldn't tear my eyes from the telly as he crouched on his board, gurning his way over the waves. My friends Matt and Monkey had a talking Steve Irwin doll, complete with miniature plastic snakes. You pulled a string and he sqwarked, "POISED! Ready to strike!". Not since Tracy and her two-story Barbie house and Sale of the Century boardgame had I been so jealous of a friend's toy collection. Gareth and I made the pilgrimage to Australia Zoo last year. The sprawling park is staffed by hundreds of Steve-clones, all running round in their tiny shorts and booming accents, cradling koalas or feeding the crocs. I imagined their employee inductions, all lined up like a choir with Steve out front, "Now repoit after moi, DANGER DANGER DANGER!". He made us laugh and he made us cringe, but above all I will remember him for his wild enthusiasm. Nobody has said it better than Ed:

"The world, in its own strange way, needed a guy like Steve Irwin, however vigorously self-promoted, if only to remind the human race that, no matter how picayune or crazed your interests, it's worth getting excited about. It's worth it to sometimes leap into the deep end. It's worth it because nobody else out there will."

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23 thoughts on “The Deep End

  1. When I first heard the news I though it was one of those rumour thing… he was always larger than life and was perfect target for a croc/snake/spider (or pick any of the numerous ozzie animals that can kill) attack. So when I got onto the web, determined to prove the error in my colleagues ways, and saw that it was in fact the truth I was truly heartbroken. I feel for his poor kiddies just one day after fathers day.

  2. His imitators are such crap! We loved Steve because he was a man’s man. Some of his imitators are soooo fluffy!

    (I can’t believe Ed used “picayune” in a sentence… its one of my favorite words!)

  3. Hi all

    Heard this morning on the radio one of Steve’s close friends talking about him. He reakons that with his last dying breath, Steve would have said “Croc’s Rule”.

    His larger than life personality and his dedication to Australian wildlife will be sadly missed.

  4. I was stunned to hear the news of his death this morning. He was the epitome of “larger than life”, and his passion for the natural world was unparalleled. I think the reason his death is so hurtful is because he was truly a unique personality, and that makes him irreplaceable.

  5. I’m still numb with disbelief… I think.. tomorrow I will wake up and it will all be false.

    Dead? Impossible!

    Death doesn’t just ‘happen’.

    Yes.. it does.

    I — can’t believe it.

  6. He was passionate about conservation and lived life with enthusiasm. a very rare specimen. Painful to know he’s gone.

  7. *sad*

    wikipedia have a good write up on his life….

    B?( i’ll still be screaming ‘put the fucka down then..’ when they show him on telly saying how this ‘little fella’s angry…’

    sad sad sad

  8. Now, I never been fond of the man, but one clip I saw of him sticks in my mind: they showed you him out and about with his wee lassie and let her help with all the stuff he got up to. They were all in a boat speeding along with a croc tied up with them (obviously) and the lassie just turned to the camera and said ‘that’s my dad alright’ and he just looked at her like a proud dad and I remember thinking ‘a git, but he must be an ACE dad and his daughter obviously adores him and he adores her’ and I decided to think of him as less of a git. The hole which a man like that must make in your life when he goes must be huge – sad news.

  9. I always watched the Crododile Diaries or Zoo Diaries or something like that on the animal planet simply because I was impressed by his seemingly limitless energy … I’ll miss him.

  10. Aw, I hadn’t even heard this news until I got here. (I was away (from the Internet) for the weekend and although the hotels had TVs the Italian press apparently did not feature the story highly.) Very sad. I agree with Ed–he seemed a bit crazy, but in a rather fabulous and most compelling fashion.

    And Donalda, thanks for sharing that bit–it sounds revealing, in its way, and it’s certainly something I hadn’t seen.

  11. I was sad too. I remember when you and I were gabbing daily and I finally got up the courage to ask for the Official Oz Take on the Steve sensation that was sweeping my nation. You said, “WHO?” and changed the subject. Well played, Shauny, well played.

    Good call on pulling Ed’s quote. I love that guy. He could write about dump rats and I’d be happy.

    Look what I found in my neighborhood this morning, at a gas station, no less:

  12. to be honest, i was just glad the papers didn’t all run headlines like: Crikey! Steve Irwin Bit the Big One!

    In fact, I haven’t seern a single Crikey yet! I’m impressed. I just think that would be a sucky way to be remembered by, a stupid catchphrase.

  13. Croikey!

    The Crocs must be so pissed off, they’d been after Steve for 30 years.

    Sorry for his wife and kids, his family and friends. Beyond that no, if you will go and mess with beasties that can kill you do not be surprised when they do.

    I can NOT believe the Premiere of QLD actually offered a full State Funeral.
    Did they even give Joe Bjelke a full state funeral?

    Anyhow, sorry to Teri Bindi and Bob.

    pol x

  14. hear hear. So what if he shouted in the odd crocodile’s ear, Germaine? It’s exactly that thing about not being afraid of risking oneself in pursuit of living life to the full that makes me want to brain people who’ve never taken a risk in their lives sitting there chirping smugly that “he always WAS an accident waiting to happen…”

  15. Have just heard that another prominate Aussie Peter Brock has been killed today – wow 2 great losses in one week. Let’s hope that there isn’t another one.


  16. did you hear about peter brock? he was killed today while competing in the targa in western Australia… two icons within a week… it’s devastating

  17. And now Brocky is gone. Not that I’m a motor racing fan, but two icons who were so prominent in their field, and dedicated so much to charities and raising money/ awareness for various interests gone in a week.
    My mum used to go out with Peter Brock’s younger brother – he was literally the ‘boy next door’!!!

  18. I guess his lesson for is is that we should all life our lives with passion and enthusiasm….my kids at school wanted to put the flag at half mast as a thank you for all he has done for animals and the environment – this was suggested by my former most challenging student! We’ll be doing that on the day of his memorial service…in the meantime, feeling a little lost and sad too.

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