Sometimes the truly ironic thing in life is that one can be killed by the very creatures one loves the most. In Australia, there are plenty of ways to get killed by wildlife. I'd recommend the first chapter in Bill Bryson's very funny Down Under.
Two months ago I printed out a technical manual meant for salespeople, and put Steve on the cover. It only seemed natural for such a fun car. The guy had appeared in Toyota TV ads, and his infectious joy for wildlife was just perfect... what a feeling! [jumps!]
The interesting thing about Steve's death is that some folks choose to criticise his career choice. Why did he have to do such a dangerous job. Shouldn't he be thinking about the risks involved? What's going to happen to his wife and kids if something terrible happened to him? Some thought that he was provoking the sea creatures, which is now shown to be untrue. It was a freak accident.
I think it'd be more appropriate to ask how many of us can claim to have a job we truly love? True, dying for what one loves might be a little extreme, but lots of people put their lives on their lines every single day. I guess most wildlife documentary makers encounter similar risks as Steve. A few weeks ago, I watched Jeff Corwin get close to the most deadly sea creature in Australia or something like that. There are others in high risk jobs: soldiers, miners, taxi drivers... doctors (especially in situations like SARS), reporters in war zones. Others risk less things, but we can't ignore those. Counsellors, teachers and others in high-stress/emotionally demanding jobs risk their mental health on a daily basis. I could go on...
I guess what I'm trying to say is that folks who love their jobs so much, and are able to make a significant impart on the hearts and minds of people (in Steve's case, it's describing wildlife as... 'what a beauty!' probably wouldn't want to trade that for anything else. Crikey, Mr. Irwin!
Update(!): I've subscribed to the Geographics for over 15 years now. The very first issue in my 'collection' has stingrays on the cover. I wonder how Steve would have liked the world to see them now that he's the victim of a cruel accident. I'd bet he'll still say these creatures are indeed a ... beauty... but be careful, they kill, too.
'I never forget-and diving guides like Jay and Pat never let tourists forget-that stingrays can be dangerous. But these were so gentle that I became accustomed to having heir tails cares the back of my neck or scrape across my faceplate...' -David Doubilet