Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, September 04, 2006


My daughters grew up with Steve Irwin. How lucky for them that they were spared a Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom upbringing and had the Crock Hunter instead.

I watched with enthusiasm and a bit of recoil, primarily because I thought it was a crummy job for the father of young children. Where was his sense of responsibility? Buried deep beneath his sense of wonder, and for the kids, that wonder was magic.

Now that he's gone, dead from a stingray spike to the heart, he will live on in reruns and this sad moment will slip into the sea of sad moments, filled with stingrays and crocks and great sharks, that make up so much of our lives. Not surprisingly, Ann Althouse captured the feeling better than I can:
It occurs to me that Steve Irwin was the most enthusiastic person in the world, and that it's impossible to think of who would come in second. And then I realize that the reason I don't know who comes in second -- first, now -- is that people who have that level of enthusiasm are ordinarily tamped down by social pressure -- or, if they don't respond to social pressure, shunned or institutionalized. Or drugged. The extraordinary thing, then, is not that he was so over-the-top enthusiastic, but that he didn't annoy us into rejecting him. He actually made us happy. What a guy!
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