Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sad...and Alarming

I was working when I heard Steve Irwin died. One of the tech's came ripping around the corner and said, "The Crocodile Hunter died." I turned to one of the computers and looked it up.

How sad. I never really watched his show, but there was something about him that made me feel like he was a standup guy. It's always the good ones who die young, which means I will live to be about 114.

I was alarmed at how he died, though. A sting ray. The first cruise I went on, we stopped in Grand Cayman, and I did what every tourist does when they go to Grand go to Stingray City.

Stingray City is a large sandbar out away from the island that hundreds of stingrays hang out. Fishermen used to clean their catch and toss it into the water, and soon word spread to the rays of the free buffet, and more rays came. One day, a guy jumped out of the boat and swam with them. Stingray City was born. Before too long, boat operators started offering tours to passengers out to the sandbar where they could swim and interact with the rays, who by that time, became so used to the presence of people, remained docile, and just swam around...which was pretty much my experience.

Kant and I boarded a boat, we took a short trip, and we were there...with about 500 other people. You could see the rays floating around, like large portabella mushrooms, looking for a free handout. Tour operators gave everyone pieces of squid to feed the rays, and they would also catch them so you could "pet" them (they feel like rubber), and hold them. We were told that as long as you didn't pull the barb, the ray would not sting you. And try not to step on them.

Would I go back and swim with the rays again? Yes, but Irwin would always be on the back of my mind. His getting stabbed was one of those fluke things that rarely happen, and thing that the world will always wonder...would he have lived had he not pulled it out and just waited until medical professionals could extract it? If someone ever gets impaled with something, they are not to pull it out. You never know what it's embedded ito, and if it's holding anything together.

Sad that Irwin died, but not all that shocking. I guess when you live certain lifestyles, you have to accept the certain risks that go with it....whether it be wrestling alligators, racing cars, selling drugs, or being a Registered Nurse.


Faith said...

I'll probably be in the "race" with you for the title of Oldest Woman Alive.

The Twin put it perfectly when she said to me via e-mail yesterday that God wasn't kidding when he decided it was Irwin's time..."Ummm, do you NEED me to prove that when it's your time, it's your TIME!?" I feel really bad for his wife and children...thank goodness they can look back on his shows and see what kind of adventurer he was and how brave and yet respectful he was of the animals he encountered along the way.

Xavier Onassis said...

When I told my 12 year old daughter, young Galadriel Tanqueray Onassis (who had just been to Australia for 3 weeks this past summer, and had been snorkling in the Barrier Reef herself) about Steve Irwin's death, she summed it up very succinctly.

"He was probably doing something STUPID!"

This was a man who made a living out of provoking animals for our entertainment.

It was bound to bite him in the ass eventually.