We only have a cassette player in our Jeep. We’ve always planned to install a CD player at some point, but never have had both the spare cash and the gumption to get it done at the same time. And for the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve only had one tape to go in that cassette player, a tape that Kelsey got in a gift bag at a friend’s birthday party: Wiggly Safari, by The Wiggles and Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin.
I’ve heard this tape, no lie, a thousand times over the last couple of years. I know every bit of it by heart. This isn’t to say that I like it, oh god no, but it’s become one not-so-small swatch of the fabric of my life — and it’s practically been the soundtrack to Laurel’s life, to the point where she doesn’t want to listen to anything else when we’re in the truck. (Heaven forbid we try to turn on the radio — she starts crying immediately, begging us to put in The Wiggles. The child doesn’t much like change.) Hell, the first song on the cassette is about Irwin himself (“Crocodile Hunter! Big Steve Irwin! Crocodile Hunter! Action MAAAAN!”).
So that’s why I’m a little bit surprised at how sad I feel about the news of Steve Irwin’s flukey death from a stingray barb to the heart while filming in Austraila (though, like many others, I’m not truly all that surprised that he went out in this manner). More days than not, I wind up listening to Irwin’s thick accent, his voice not quite able to contain his infectious enthusiasm for the animal kingdom — I’ve certainly never heard anyone else so fervently insist that camels have beautiful lips and eyelids.
Rest well, Steve Irwin. I’m sure you’ll live on in the speakers of my Jeep for some time to come.