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."