R.I.P. Crocodile Hunter.
I just got off the stage last night at the comedy store and a friend of mine told me the news.
“Dude, you’re not going to fucking believe this, Steve Irwin, that crocodile hunter dude got killed by sting ray while he was filming his show.”
At first I thought they were joking, because it kinda sounds like a joke and because for whatever retarded reason my friends love to make shit up and trick people, but eventually enough people were saying it that I realized it was probably true.
I remember thinking at that moment that this is one of those weird news stories that you both expect, and never expect at the same time. It’s both incredibly shocking because here was a guy with a successful show that a lot of people loved and you can’t believe he’s dead, and completely expected because this same guy made his reputation acting crazy around dangerous wild animals.
The really crazy thing, is that some people are freaking out about how the guy died, but really that was the whole reason why his show was so popular in the first place, because you fucking KNEW that could happen. If his show was just him feeding friendly parrots and dolphins it wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. What was appealing about it, what made it really stand out, was that here was this guy that was doing shit that could easily get him killed. He was taunting crocodiles, and crawling on the ground near Komodo Dragons, so is it really shocking how that’s the way he died?
I mean you had to know that there was a serious possibility that this shit could easily go wrong one day when you saw him feeding a crocodile while holding his baby, right?
It’s like we all saw it coming, but you’re still pretty fucking shocked when it got there.
I can’t believe he’s dead. I mean, he is on TV, right?
Now the whole thing about this guy dying that was very fascinating to me, is that I’ve always been amazed at how much people, myself included, take for granted how really fucking dangerous animals can be.
I mean, we all know somewhere in the back of our head that bears can eat you, and shit like that, but I think our current state of evolution has so completely removed us from our ancestors’ genetically embedded memories of animals killing and eating us, that I’m not so sure that we can really appreciate how easy it would be for most animals to fuck your shit up.
I got my first real taste of what animals are capable of when I adopted a wild cat.
My friend Leni and her boyfriend trapped these kittens that were hiding behind her apartment building, and they tried to find them homes, so since they knew I already had cats, she asked me to take one. They were only around 4 months old and under nourished, but those little fuckers were already permanently wild.
It was shocking how feral they were at such a young age.
I had cats all my life when I was growing up, and some of our cats even had kittens, but I had never seen anything like these little wild motherfuckers.
When I took this little guy home, at first I thought I had made a huge mistake.
I had never seen anything like it. Here was this cute, tiny little baby animal, and it was screaming and hissing like a demon, and leaping at the walls trying to get free.
I could get it to calm down eventually, and if I picked it up it would actually start to purr, but when I put it back down, it would scream holy murder and leap away again.
The more time I spent with little guy, the more he relaxed, so I just decided to sweat him out for a few days and see if we could work this out.
I had a spare bedroom so I locked him in there with me and a litter box and a bed, and I just hung out with him for 3 straight days. I would read books and try to write jokes, and I would just sit in the bed with the little wild kitten all day. Every time I would leave to go eat or take a shit, I would come back and he would freak out again, but eventually he got used to me to the point where he would calm down pretty quickly. After 3 days I let him out of the room and introduced him to my other cats. He eventually calmed down quite a bit with me, but that cat was always fucking wild, just right under the surface.
I realized how wild he truly was when one day I had to take him to the vet to get fixed. I picked him up and tried to put him into a cat carrier, and he instantly fought me with every inch of his being. His switch immediately turned on to survival mode, and even though I was the guy hooking him up with free food and massages every night, there was no fucking way he was going to let me kill him. He screamed and clawed at me so hard and so fast that I jumped away like a little bitch. I just couldn’t believe how much fury he could generate so quickly.
He let out these horrible cries and sprayed piss all over the walls, and it scared the fucking shit out of me. I jumped out of the bathroom and locked the little fucker in there. I wound up throwing a blanket on him and stuffing him into a hamper to take him to the vet. Of course I was never going to ever hurt him, but he didn’t know nothing about all that. All he knew was survival.
I guess this is how I’m looking at this crocodile hunter thing.
Apparently the guy was a really cool dude, and he did a lot of really good things for the conservation movement, and he was also a big supporter of one of my passions, mixed martial arts. He actually owned a zoo, and dedicated a substantial part of his time to helping animals all over the world. But that sting ray didn’t know nothing about all that.
All he knew was survival.
He didn’t know about no cameras or close ups.
Even though it’s totally logical that it happened, it still feels fucking strange.
It’s just not supposed to happen to the guy on TV.
Strangely enough, I always thought that way a little bit about Fear Factor, too.
We were really lucky that no one ever got seriously hurt or killed, but honestly even though the people that created the stunts and the producers of the show did everything in their power to make the show as safe as possible, shit happens, and things go wrong.
People die from far less dangerous things every day of the week. I mean, the guy that created the Atkins diet died right in front of his house because he slipped and fell.
150 people die each year because coconuts fall on their heads.
On Fear Factor we had many possibly unbalanced people hanging from helicopters and dangling off the side of moving trucks… I mean realistically, we’re really lucky that no one was ever hurt, but would you really be surprised if you turned on the TV and saw that someone died while filming Fear Factor?
Of course not. In spite of how much you might expect it though, some people would still go nuts and say it’s an outrage. There would be countless people on countless talk shows, and countless editorials talking about how they’re appalled that what they expected to happen actually happened, and how we have to put an end to this scourge of reality television.
For SURE someone on Fox news would say that shows like Fear Factor are exactly what the terrorists want.
I personally always get really uncomfortable when people do shit with animals.
Maybe it was because of my crazy cat, or maybe because I was attacked by a goat once when I was 7, but for whatever reason I always feel a little uncomfortable around animals other than domesticated pets.
I remember this one episode of Fear Factor we did involved the contestants having to ride bulls. I was a little apprehensive about it, but they kept saying it wasn’t going to be a big deal, because the bulls that they were using were just “training bulls,” and that they’re not as crazy as the “regular bulls.” I kept thinking, “did anyone tell the fucking bulls that they’re just training bulls?” I mean, at the end of the day, that’s still a huge, angry animal that doesn’t speak English, and it doesn’t want you riding it, and the object is, you’re trying to hang on to it’s back for as long as you can.
Are you serious? Why the fuck would anybody ever want to do that, and why would anybody ever think that there was a way to do that “safely?”
I remember when the first dude got on the bull, and I had to talk to him from the side of the cage before he took off, I said good luck, and I was just thinking, “this is fucking completely insane.”
I’m looking down at this hulking beast, twitching in rage and frustration in this cage, and there’s this kid getting ready to try to ride it. The bizarre thing was, I can remember being really nervous about it all, but at the same time I had this weird feeling that everything was going to be OK because we were on TV. As retarded as that sounds, and believe me I know it’s retarded, and I recognized it right away, the bottom line is that the thought was there. That thought was actually alive somewhere in my head. There was actually a tiny part of my brain that was saying, “Don’t worry about it, we’re filming this for a TV show, and everyone knows what they’re doing, so we’re going to be all right.”
When the first guy rode out, that’s when I really freaked out, because it was very obvious right away that this wasn’t like anything that anyone had expected. This fucking bull was furious, and there was nothing “safely” about it. It was huge and bucking and kicking with all 2,000 fucking pounds of hate, and that dude got shook off it like a rag doll.
The crazy thing was, as scary as it looked, every other contestant agreed to do it, including a girl that only weighed around 90lbs.
I guess they just figured, “Fuck it, we’ll be OK, we’re on TV.”
I sat there and watched as each contestant got on a bull, and we rolled the dice over and over again.
We got lucky, and no one got hurt, but fuck that shit was scary. Every time a contestant got on to one of those bulls, we were just praying that no one got stomped. It all felt so fragile.
They all had helmets and chest plates on to protect them, but could you just fucking imagine what it would feel like to get kicked in the head by one of those things, even with a helmet on? This thing has this giant, muscle bound body, with these huge legs that are so strong that they can send this 2,000 plus pound beast hurling through the air, and at the end of them is a big hoof that’s as hard as a rock, and it’s coming straight down on your fucking nuts.
You’re just a kid trying to pay off some student loans by winning some money on a TV show.
But that bull? He don’t know nothing about all that.
Rest in peace, and I’ll see you on the other side, Crocodile Hunter.