Not too many people stalk crocodiles and invade the personal space of sharks for a living. So when Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died from a poisonous stingray attack Sept. 4, many people saw the accident as unnecessary and avoidable.
“He should have quit a long time ago,” and “He shouldn’t have been doing those things while he had a wife and children,” is what many said. Yes, it’s heartbreaking that Irwin died unexpectedly while he had a family, but those are factors that had no correlation to Irwin’s passion for the wild.
Irwin was dedicated to wildlife preservation.
Without trying to assume too much about a person we never knew personally, he probably felt it was his one and only calling. That passion in a person isn’t suitable for compromise.
In his 2006 Emmy Awards acceptance speech, “Entourage” star Jeremy Piven said, “I have to act, I can’t do anything else.” Some people feel they are meant to do only one thing. Piven was grateful for his award because acting is the only profession that he could love. Granted, anyone could probably be forced to work in another profession, but it is the ideal situation to work at what you love to do. If Irwin ended his naturalist profession years ago, he wouldn’t be the real Steve Irwin.
For 10 years, the Croc Hunter had been comically evading the vicious mandibles of creatures. Near-death experiences were certainly not uncommon to Irwin. Would he have ever guessed his luck would finally run out Sept. 4? And did he ever imagine that the one animal he wasn’t ready for was a stingray? He probably likened himself to ol’ Captain Hook, and that those pesky crocs would get him in the end.
We wonder if the thought ever seriously crossed Irwin’s mind that it would be on his chosen job that he would meet his end. Yet if he did know, would he continue to show up at work, knowing that it would take him away from his wife and children?
It’s the Oedipus dilemma, that no matter what, a person cannot out-run his fate. If we knew how and when our lives would end, we wouldn’t be able to make regular decisions based on gut reactions. Everything would be controlled by the knowledge of our impending doom – nothing would happen naturally.
Therefore, risks in life should never stand as a reason to back down. We don’t know what our fates will be, that’s why we should do what we feel is right, without rhyme or reason telling
us otherwise. Irwin could have listened to the voices that no doubt, followed him his entire life, telling him to quit while he was ahead. But then he would have died an unfulfilled life, instead of doing what made him truly happy. And isn’t that what really matters?
It is for this reason that oracles don’t exist.