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Jewish World Review
Sept. 8, 2006
/ 15 Elul, 5766
News, animals, actors, and others
As I peruse the news on the internet this morning, a few headlines catch my eye. The biggest news by far is that Steve Irwin, the guy known as the "Crocodile Hunter," died after getting stuck by the barb of a stingray which penetrated his heart. He was filming one of his shows, and evidently swam too close to the stingray. The fish got spooked and plunged its tail into Irwin's chest and directly into his heart. A freak accident, we're told, because very few stingrays have actually killed people.
Well maybe it's a freak accident if it happened to me or you or any other relatively normal person, but not so freaky for a man who is famous for getting dangerously close to some of the most ferocious and poisonous animals in the world. This guy made his reputation as a fearless "hunter" (albeit without a gun) who approached wild animals in order to get a rise out of them. I'm probably one of the few people on earth who never saw the show, but from what little I know, from the short clips I've seen, it looks to me like he used to jump around in front of these creatures, pulling their tails, waving his hands, throwing ropes around them, in short doing whatever it took to get them to do something threatening in order to entertain his television audience. Let's face it; a crocodile isn't going to snap at you unless he perceives you as a threat.
I'm really sorry for the family's loss. It's always sad when anyone dies at such an early age, but c'mon - the man asked for it. It's not like he was some innocent guy walking down the street and a safe fell on him or something - THE MAN WAS SWIMMING WITH POISONOUS STINGRAYS! HE ANTAGONIZES WILD ANIMALS FOR A TELEVISION SHOW!
I've been hearing that he was an animal lover. That he was an environmentalist. That he really cared about nature. That he taught people how to be at one with the earth and its creatures. Oh, he taught us something, all right. And the lesson is, "Don't mess around with wild animals." You know what? Leave wild animals alone! Respect their space and let them be. This thing reminds me of that other guy - the one who decided to live with bears. He wanted to be a bear. And finally he got his wish. He became a bear's dinner and soon he was part of that bear.
There are just some places on earth that people should stay out of. Leave the bears alone. Leave the stingrays alone. Leave the gorillas and the chimps alone. You want to be "at one" with an animal? Adopt an orphan dog. But even with a dog or cat, if you bounce around in front of it screaming and flailing your arms, if you put your face in its face and scare it, if you pull it around by the tail, you could very possibly get hurt.
Two other banner headlines on the AOL news page this morning were quite similar. One was proclaiming that Rosie O'Donnell would be joining "The View" this morning, while the other informed me that Katie Couric was becoming the new CBS news anchor. Now, these are very important news items - if you're Regis Philbin or Joan Rivers. But in the scope of the real world, who cares? I'm not putting down celebrity news gossip; there is a place for it - in the pages of People Magazine. And that's fine. But, (and this might come as a shock to folks in Tinsel Town) earth shattering news it ain't.
Oh, wait! Here's a real hard news story! This one has the headline, "Tattoo Parlors of the Stars." I am not making this up. That headline would have been the punch line for a Johnny Carson joke only a few years ago. And even as I type this I can hear hundreds of readers saying "Who's Johnny Carson?" Sigh.
The article actually lists the places (complete with addresses and maps) of where your favorite stars go to get their tattoos and piercing done. Not only that, but guess what, you can request THE VERY SAME TATTOO that your movie star hero has! WOW! Now you too can have the exact tribal markings inked into your pelvis that Janet Jackson has! This is so cool!!! Oh please, Mom, can I have the same picture carved on my left buttock that David Duchovney has? Oh, please, please, please. I won't ask for anything else ever! I promise! No, wait. I changed my mind. I want the peace sign inked into my left breast just like Queen Latifah. I won't ask for anything else, I promise.
That's all, folks.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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© 2006, Greg Crosby