September 06, 2006

Surely no one was truly surprised by the news of Steve Irwin's death.

Upset, certainly: for Irwin stood for many as a symbol of snatching out success against terrible odds through a sheer innocent audacity. Many lived vicariously through him, though few would be able -- or, indeed, really wished -- to imitate him. After all, for the rest of us, life has consequences. -- But part of us still holds dearly that life ought not to have consequences. And when the chances finally caught up with him and Irwin was killed, it was brought sharply and unhappily clear to many that, just perhaps, the seemingly charmed life of another might be subject to consequences also.

Many were startled as to the manner of that death: stingrays are not aggressive, Irwin was doing nothing aggressive. In the end, only one opinion matters: and the stingray seems to have made its own very clear. All it takes is a single unexpected shadow falling from above. Irwin had made a lifetime career of deliberately creating such shadows and accurately anticipating their consequences. This one time, he was wrong. In his chosen line of work, it only takes once.

And thus Steve Irwin died as he had lived. Leave it there.

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