Monday, September 04, 2006

Wild Life

The easiest thing to do today would be to pile on the whole "Croc Hunter" pile, but that might be too simple. If you spend the bulk of your life taunting reptiles with sharp, pointy teeth, maybe you shouldn't be surprised when something jumps up from the swamp and bites you on the cargo shorts. For the record, it should be noted that it was a stingray barb that finally caught up with Mister Irwin. He was, after all, the "Crocodile Hunter" and not the "Stingray Molester."
Steve Irwin is just another link in the long chain of animal annoyers. Marlin Perkins sits on the top of that particular heap, for me. Watching "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" as we waited for "The Wonderful World Of Disney" to start, I often wondered how Marlin stayed so clean and nattily dressed while Jim was out in the bush, attempting to subdue an enraged ocelot. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that his obituary contained the line, "one of only a handful of people to survive the bite of a West African Gaboon viper." So Marlin may at one time put his finger where it shouldn't have been. Jim was the hired hand, after all, and not the host. It was expected that he would be stomping about the underbrush, trying to flush out any number of foul-tempered beasts. And why were they in such bad moods? Some "naturalist" was knocking dirt down their hole, or disturbing their nest, or smelling just a little too much like lunch.
Okay. So I said I wouldn't pile on. Sue me. Or maybe instead we should take the most archetypal example of this "man versus nature" fixation to heart: Carl Denham, adventurer and film maker found himself on Skull Island, locked in a life or death struggle with an ape the size of Def Leppard's tour bus. When he was afforded the chance to escape, he chose instead to go back and try to box up the eighth wonder of the world and bring him back to civilization. We all know how that turned out. My guess is that Carl Denham never worked New York City again. I'm a big fan of nature, and I applaud the efforts of all those, Steve Irwin included, to create a better understanding of the planet that we share with all other birds, beasts and bugs. To this end, I leave you with the words of my favorite naturalist, Mark Trail: "Take only pictures, leave only footprints."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

On my last trip to Salt Lake, a fellow traveller showed me pictures of the last safari tour he guided in Zambia. They go out with guns--not to hunt, but for their protection.

I suggested in so many words that if you're out there in wild animals' territory, and you piss them off and they attack you, you should really just die. I mean, otherwise, you're just a big chicken with a gun. I apologize to all the chickens I just insulted.

--CB

Anonymous said...

"...man was in the forest."

Robin said...

Go CB! It seems unfair to shoot a critter that's staying home and minding its own business, just because some busybody wanted to have a peek when the beastie wasn't ready for visitors.