The phone calls have been heavy this morning, as friends and family members wake to the news that the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, was killed early Monday by a sting ray. Normally, this would probably be like the death of any other celebrity, where we’re all in a bit of shock over the news, and we all feel a certain sense of loss for the tragedy.
But the calls have been from moms and dads of kids who have spent the past few years, much like ours, growing up with Australia’s own Wiggles, a wacky fab-four kind-of act that has replaced Barney and other such shows. Maybe three or four years ago, they did an hour-long special with Steve Irwin, and that video has been their favorite hands down. They know all the songs by heart, the dances, the narration by Irwin–they’ve taken to him as they have any other childhood icon.
So when the news spread early this morning, we all felt as if we had lost somebody more than just a regular celebrity.
And maybe we have. It’s hard enough for us as adults to cope with the shock of his death, but for the millions of children all over the world who have come to love Irwin for his entertaining antics with dangerous creatures, it will be even harder for them to comprehend how something like this could happen.
I nearly broke down this morning when I broke the news to my oldest daughter; it was as if I had to tell her that a family member had died.
To her as much as to us, maybe one has.