Someone Tame The Croc Hunter

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Someone Tame The Crocodile Hunter, Please

We have all done stupid, regrettable things in our lives. Itís natural. On the whole, human beings are impulsive, reactionary, live-in-the-moment creatures. It is only in the moments following our stellar stupidity that we stop to evaluate and inevitably wish we would have made slightly better choices. Hence the term "Monday morning quarterback" and the old saying about hindsight being 20/20.

And as long as we are willing to learn from our missteps and mistakes, just about every gaffe, goof, foible and faux pas are forgivable. Some people, however, take stupidity to new heights and defense of their position to new lows.

Such is the case with the worldís most erstwhile and amiable idiot, Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.

We are all familiar with this man through his TV program, a show which takes the viewer on a closeup journey of many creatures great and small. Steve is to the new Millennium what Marlon Perkins was to the old. A man in love with Mother Nature and all that reside in her jungled bowels. Although, if memory serves, old Marlon never actually entered those bowels. He sent in Jim to do the hard work like tagging lions and tranquilizing elephants, while he commented from the safety of a Jeep with locked doors, reinforced windows and a fully loaded shotgun.

But back to Steve.

With his trademarked Australianisms peppered through every hushed aside to viewers, Steve has made quite a nice living out of his equally trademarked leaps onto the back of creatures who only wish to be left alone to loll in the sunshine.

"We are here in an Aboriginal swamp, on the lookout for . . . wait, I think I spy something. Yes! Now thereís a beauty, mates. Look at her - must be 12, maybe 15 feet. Thatís one Queen Bee Sheila of a croc. Iím going to sneak up on her, and attempt to move her from that spot to one three feet over. Why, you ask? Crikey mate, cause thatís what I do!"

And so he proceeds, with the help of his hapless crew, to wrestle the poor creature into a more camera worthy pose. He does the same with poisonous snakes, lizards, you name it. If your mother warned you not to touch it, chances are you will find Steve allowing it entrance into his pants.

Of course, it would be nice to think that conservation was the goal in all his antics, but the truth of the matter would be ratings. And thatís fine - allow the man a wide berth for his stupidity, pay him well for his repeated attempts to ride a crocodile or charm a snake, and turn the channel when his ravings make you wish Jim would come out of the bushes and take aim.

Unfortunately, Steveís latest stunt, performed at his zoo compound, included not only a hungry 13 foot croc, but his infant son. Standing only feet away from the animal, dangling a raw chicken carcass from one hand, Steve held his month old child in the other. It is a move being compared to Michael Jackson dangling his baby over that balcony, and one he is now publicly defending and saying he would do again and again.

At least Mr. Jackson realized his serious misstep and apologized for what could have ended in tragedy.

Not so Steven.

Perhaps he has not seen the reports about the hand raised tiger who nearly killed owner Roy and has killed the Siegfried and Roy show. Perhaps he missed the myriad news accounts of children mauled to death by family pets. Perhaps he just needs a tranquilizer dart to the butt?

Crikey. Where is old Jim when you need him?

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