I miss Steve

September 04, 2006

I saw a link to an article while surfing the internet at work that afternoon, the bulk of my tasks having long since been completed, and my mind already halfway home.  I thought it was a joke.  Because, when I see things that are greatly troubling, as a self-defense mechanism, it is always easier for me to think it is a joke at first.

But it was true.  It was no joke.  He was gone.

It wouldn’t be fair to say I was shattered.  I didn’t go home in tears.  But, I did call my parents immediately to see if they had heard the news.  They had.  They just hadn’t figured out how to break it to me yet.

Steve Irwin was a hero of mine.

I loved his passion.  I loved how he brought knowledge about dangerous animals into millions of homes, so that we wouldn’t immediately judge them, so we could see them on their terms, understand their purpose, and appreciate their beauty.  Because, they were beautiful creatures.  Deadly, yes, but gorgeous all the same.

I was enthralled with the life I perceived he led, and when I entered college I enrolled as a Biology: Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution major because I fancied that one day I would travel the world, studying and saving animals just like Steve.  I eventually changed to psychology, studying a completely different kind of animal, but I never stopped following along on his adventures.

Until, that is, there were no more adventures to be had.

I know that a lot of people thought he was a joke.  They didn’t appreciate his methods for raising awareness.  They didn’t like his persona.  They thought he was doing more harm than good, taking chances he shouldn’t for a cause that wasn’t worth it.

But, he taught a generation of kids that there is beauty in the unlikeliest of places.  He taught us not to judge things simple because they have a certain label.  He taught us to see things that the rest of the world couldn’t, didn’t want to, wouldn’t be bothered with.

I miss Steve.  I miss his lessons.  I miss his adventures.  I miss his passion.  I miss his beauty.  He was every bit as beautiful as the animals he strove to teach us about and save.


This post was inspired by Rara’s post about the death of Superman.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should do so immediately.  It’s about more than you might think.  Then again, it’s Rara, and her posts are always deeper than they appear on the surface.

85 thoughts on “I miss Steve

  1. We saw the Crocodile Hunter movie in the theater, and again on cable recently (bad, but fun). Such energy and passion about these creatures and surroundings, he was so lucky to have found his calling even for that (relatively) brief period before he died.

  2. I thought Steve Irwin was cool too, the guy had energy for 10 people and yeah he did make people see animals, dangerous animals in a different light. Out of all the ways to go I would have never have guessed he died the way he did. Sure he may have been a little OTT at times but that was his charm I think.

    • Part of his charm, yes.
      I read an article afterwards that discussed how he and his crew had always figured if something got him it would be in the water, because his reflexes and reaction time would be slowed down. Sad. Very sad.

    • Thank you. The show wasn’t for everybody, and on the surface would have been easy to dismiss… goofy looking guy wrestling alligators… but, once you watched, you saw his heart, and you saw the animals the way he saw them. It really was brilliant. I’d recommend checking out a re-run or two if you ever see them on animal planet or discovery.

    • I’m sorry, my friend. I never mean to make anyone cry. But, thank you for the compliment.
      Non-fiction is difficult for me to get started. I never know what to write about. This time was easy though. Rara asked us to define hero, and I found myself think of Steve as I wrote my response… the words followed.

      • Oh, it wasn’t an official prompt. She wrote about the death of Christopher Reeve in her post yesterday, and then asked us to define “hero.” The definition I came up with reminded me of Steve, and it seemed like I had more to say than would fit in the comment section so I wrote a post.

  3. I miss Steve, too. I often try to think of my life from his perspective. It’s possible to leave each day enthused about the life you’re living, and anyone who is in doubt of that only needs to look to Steve Irwin for that.

    Beautiful piece, 🙂

  4. I went to Australia Zoo (which is in Queensland where I live) in the few days preceding his death. The grief was intense. There were tributes to him all over the grounds and you could see the effect it had on the staff who worked there. I have been back a few times and often in Australia we hear about Bindi, Bob and Terri and what they are up to. Steve Irwin was a character 9and not representative of all Australians!) He did some amazing work with conservation and education about animals – he was so passionate that he has left a huge legacy behind that will continue for many many years.

    Beautiful tribute Matticus 🙂

    • I’m a teensy bit jealous that you’ve gone to the Aaustrailia Zoo a couple times. But, it is a whole heck of a lot closer for you to get there. My dad went once while he was on travel for business up near there and he brought me back some souvenirs… It was nice to have them, as reminders, and completely sad at the same time…

  5. I loved him, and was so saddened when he passed. I miss him, too. But he did leave his daughter to carry on.

    • Yes, Bindi does seem to be following in her father’s footsteps. I hope that’s more because she has the same passion than because the TV execs want to bank on who she is…

    • Thank you. Yes, Rara’s post was brilliant. I don’t remember my specific feelings when Chritopher Reeve passed, though I do remember being surprised. He was a legend.

  6. I think he was great too. He really cared a lot about animals and the environment. He had a larger than life personality I was shocked and saddened when he died too.

    • Thanks for the comments.
      I’d say maybe one day someone else will come along to fill that role… but, I’m not sure that is possible. I don’t think anyone could replace him.

  7. I always enjoyed Steve Irwin, too. What a passion for life that guy had. I was so disturbed by his death, you’d think I’d known him. But it just seemed so senseless. So much life extinguished just like that. I miss him, too. Nice post.

  8. We were on our way home from our cabin when we heard the news… My two older kids loved Steve. Especially my middle kid. He actually did cry! He has the DVD’s and will still watch them. He has no fear of animals either. Hmmmm!

    • Sometimes there is a subtle difference between fear and respect. It is okay to lack fear as long as you still have the proper respect in place. I think a lot people didn’t like that about Steve. They thought he was doing his work without fear and without respect. I completely disagree with that, of course, it was all in the way he presented. He respected and loved every single animal that was on his shows, without a doubt.

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