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06 September 2006 @ 08:32 am
Why Labor Day Weekend Needs to DIAF  
September 3, 2004: My "Uncle" (close friend of the family) Kaveh hangs himself in his basement.

September 4, 2004: The suicide note Kaveh wrote/mailed out arrives at our house. We all take turns reading it incredulously, thinking it has to be some kind of mistake, until my mom starts calling people and confirms that, indeed, his wife came home and found him in the basement. My mom, Krissy, and I are emotional wrecks for the rest of the day. Not exactly great timing, because I'm getting married the next day and am heading out to Dave and Buster's with Nick and his family for a pre-wedding party. Nick has almost zero compassion when I call him, sobbing, with the news. To be fair, he saw Kaveh maybe once or twice, but it should have been obvious that the news was tearing me up. But, no. I'm still crying on the way to D&B's- not only because of Kaveh, but also because I'm being yelled at for not sucking it up and putting on a happy face. The rest of Nick's family is much more compassionate. Nick's sister-in-law leads me in a prayer in the middle of the gaming floor, which I appreciate even though I am an agnostic.

Why this insensitivity wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back concerning my and Nick's relationship troubles, I don't know. He was the first boyfriend I ever had, and because of that and several other unpleasantries I don't feel like dredging up right now, part of me was afraid that no one else would ever love me.

I managed to say my piece about Kaveh at the time. I don't really have much to add to it. I still miss him, he was an awesome guy, and I still tear up if I dwell on it too much. I haven't heard much about his wife or son since, but I do know they're still in Pittsburgh, and I think Armon (his son) is gearing up for second grade this year. Last I heard, he is secure in the knowledge that Daddy is in Heaven.

September 5, 2004: My wedding to Nick- admittedly a fun time, as I was determined to put the events of the day before in a quiet corner of my mind for later reflection. We moved into our apartment the same night. We separated two months later, and not long after that, Nick moved out. I wish I could've made one of our earlier breakups stick and just stayed friends with him. I wish we could have lived together prior to marriage, but we weren't able to afford it. Had we done so, I would have ended things much sooner. All the problems we had flared up a hundredfold when we lived together. Our daily routine soon lapsed into a cycle of 1) wake up in the morning, 2) fight, 3) go to work and cry all day, 4) come home, 5) fight, 6) go to bed, 7) back to step 1. I couldn't take it. Again, I've said my piece about this- as much as I want to say publicly, anyway. There are many details that I leave out for various reasons; email me if you're curious.

September 4, 2006: Two years to the day that I found out about Uncle Kaveh, I find out about Steve Irwin dying of something only a handful of people have ever died of- and the combination of this with all of the above hits me hard. I'm especially angry about certain people's callousness, vitriol, and hurtful joking- not like I could ever expect tact from the basement-dwelling slime of the Internet- but goddamn, no one like him deserves to die, and no one deserves to have his/her husband/father taken away like that. I sobbed at times. I still have a hard time thinking about it without tearing up- even at work- but I've at least gathered some semblance of a tribute here. It's meaningless now- should've sent it to him in a letter when he was alive to read it, goddamn it; I often thought of doing so but never did. Such is my stupidity and shortsightedness that I have yet to learn from my experience with Kaveh.

Steve Irwin was, without a doubt, my hero, and had been for years. I watched the various series he hosted throughout university, and had a blast seeing his endearingly silly movie and sharing it with others. A lot of people believe that he was a dumbass who provoked and antagonized animals for the sake of entertainment, but anyone who's actually spent time watching him, and not one of the numerous parodies/imitations of him out there, knows that that's not the case.

Steve had nothing but love, admiration, and respect for wildlife, and wanted to share that with the rest of the world. Along with filming documentaries, he ran a zoo and spent a great deal of his time relocating crocodiles and venomous snakes that would have otherwise been killed by fearful humans. He knew full well he was encroaching on their territory, and knew what that could lead to, but he had years of experience with such encounters and, though you may have seen him getting bitten or knocked around, he was never seriously hurt until the time of his death. Prior to that, he had never once been bitten by a venomous snake. During one of his shows, he explained his opinion that accidents like that were entirely the human's fault, and that someone who got "tagged" should think about what they were doing at the time to provoke the snake so as not to repeat that mistake. He held himself to those same standards.

To all the people who were crass enough to chuckle about his death, or claim that he deserved it (I still hate you), you know what? He would've handled your shittiness a lot better than I have been. He would have laughed with you, said "Yeah, that wasn't too smart," and would have gone on to explain whatever it was he'd done wrong (if anything- not like I personally witnessed what happened). And he would've made damn sure that no one villefied the stingray.

So yes, Steve was my hero. If you spent any time at all watching him, you walked away with a new appreciation for wildlife that you didn't have before. He was always upbeat, spoke to the audience like they were his best friends, and exuded the vibe of a Good Person. He had something going for him that most of us sorry jerks never will: his job and his life's passion were one and the same, and it was a passion his entire family shared (wife, daughter, and son). One of his series in particular, Crocodile Hunter Diaries, focused on his everyday life at Australia Zoo: working/playing with his family and coworkers, the constant improvements he made to the zoo habitats to keep the animals healthy and happy, and his love for every aspect of his life really showed through. He knew people made fun of him and called him crazy, and he didn't give a rat's ass. He was enjoying himself, and didn't wish ill on anyone (except, perhaps, poachers). This is part of the reason his death has hit me so hard; I saw so much of his everyday life that I almost feel like I knew him personally. I know that's dumb, but there it is.

I think what really kills me, though, is that of anyone on this planet, he deserved this least. He had made more out of his life than most people ever will, than I probably ever will. Dictators reach ripe old ages, serial murderers spend decades behind bars (or not)- those assholes live forever, but the one person I can definitively say was living life in every sense of the word has to die. I was really hoping to see him retire in his eighties somewhere, leaving the zoo to his children. I was really hoping to visit Australia one day and catch him in action, feeding the crocs- and maybe work up the nerve to say hi, shake his hand, thank him for all the fun.

After my first seizure in March, Remy and I were stranded in an ER examination room for several hours. I was very, very out of it and not entirely sure of anything that was going on. After we ran out of Doctor Who on Remy's laptop- the plot of which I couldn't really follow at the time- he started channel surfing. And as luck would have it, Crocodile Hunter was on. I squeed, and Remy and I watched it. It was comforting, having my fiancee there and being surrounded by "friends" during a very uncertain time. In a sense, Steve and his wife Teri were there for me when my immediate family (Mom, Ray, Krissy) couldn't be. I would've told him about that, too.

There are so few positive public role models these days. I would say Steve Irwin was one of the last. I very much hope Teri and their children keep that legacy going. My deepest condolences to them.
steelerbabe777steelerbabe777 on September 6th, 2006 01:13 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean about Kaveh, babe. I think about him all the time, too, and I still cry my eyes out. I remember at Wedding Zero (heh) I was still so tore up about him that I got completely hammered on Jack and Coke's and spent a majority of the night crying in the corner with Russell. It was rough, and still is.

As far as Steve Irwin goes...there aren't enough good words in the English language to describe how awesome of a person he was. I know people thought he was nuts, but I thought he was inspiring. Who else would have a lizard bite the living shit out of him and still call that lizard "sweetheart." They are running all kinds of commercials on Steve on the Discovery Channel. I didn't cry over this until I saw that commercial last night. Then, the tear factory started. He was just such a good, good human being. No one can hold a candle to him, NO ONE. Who else looked at life--ALL walks of life--(even the tiniest of insects!) with such admiration and love? He was a wonderful person, and no one could ever compare to him at all. I truly believe he's in Heaven surrounded by the animals he loves, looking down on us and hoping that at least SOMEONE took what he did to heart, and realized that all animals are valuable all in their own unique way. At least you know now that you can look up and tell him how much you admired him--believe me, honey, he'll hear it.

I guess all I have left to say is...life is hard. Most of the time, for no reason at all. I don't pretend to understand death, but I know it's better to celebrate life than it is to mourn death. So, let's celebrate Steve's life. I'm sure if it were up to him, he wouldn't want it any other way, because that's just the kind of person he was.

Karen said you can send letters, cards, flowers, etc. to the Zoo he had going in Austrailia (obviously, it's overflowing right now), but I'll hook you up with that address when she gets it. It might help to write him a letter and get it all down...
Miusherimiusheri on September 6th, 2006 02:13 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I would definitely like the mailing addy- I could probably hunt it down meself. And I ought to write to Grandma sometime soon too.

Here, we both need to watch some stumbly kittens for a while. I understand a little of the Japanese ^_^
steelerbabe777steelerbabe777 on September 6th, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC)

Yes, doll, definitely write to Grandma. I try and talk to her when Mom calls her on the weekends, and it TOTALLY makes her day just to be able to say hi and I love you. It would make her SO happy to get a letter from you! Her writing isn't as good as it used to be because of the damn Parkinson's, but it's still legible, and I'm sure she'd LOVE to write you back! Don't forget to tell her how much you love her and how much you appreciated her being there with us when we were little.
Purrsia Kat: hugspurrsia on September 6th, 2006 01:25 pm (UTC)
Two cents or so
Tis a bad time of year for you, isn't it? Sorry there's such a crappy pattern to it : /

I also hope none of my comments about Irwin offended you, but I have my opinions about the guy. I have watched his shows with my son and the kids I babysit and much of what you say is true. However, I always did find him to be a bit of a nutter, but no, I don't think that means he "deserved" what he got, either. I mean, even for him, that was tragically ironic. Who the hell dies like *that*?! I could see some beastie getting him someday, but a stingray...that was a twist.

He did do a lot and I think people can take comfort in knowing even though he left at 44, he had a full life enjoying every second of it by the looks of things. Good for him! I guess that's why I tend to feel worse for those left behind....they get to feel the grief of not having him around anymore so all my pity tends to go to them.

The only criticism I really have of him is that, kids like my son don't heed the warnings and such he'd dole out about how dangerous some of the things he was doing could be (as knowledgable as one can be about nature, it is unpredictable and any situation can get out of control - as I suppose, we found out in an unfortunate way), kids often only see the glamorized side of it. I really thought this would nip my son's thoughts of chasing down poisonous snakes and other dangerous critters in the bud, but he wants to do it even more now. In other words, he wasn't getting any of the other important parts of the message, except the adventure part, even after his idol died in the field, so to speak.

I see that in a lot of kids, so that's just an observation. Kind of like how they might watch a toon that depicts war and maybe the overall message was that of the pain and loss that can come out of it, but maybe all the kid gets from it is that guns are cool and let's blow shit up >.< They either can't or won't sort out the other stuff, and cling to what strikes them as cool.
Hopefully, as he gets older and remembers the show, the overall message will sink in and he'll grow a respect for what was done and why it was done. I let him continue to watch, because it was informative in a way other shows couldn't touch, taking that up-close approach. And as you said, the guy had a personality that could hold your attention. If he does grow up to pursue something similar, by then the hope is he "gets" the bigger picture.
Miusherimiusheri on September 6th, 2006 01:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Two cents or so
Hey Purrs! *hugs* Thanks for this! Rest assured, I wasn't offended by your remarks, more those I saw on Fark and the like when I (stupidly) went there to get a link to a news article. Agreed, he was a nut, which was part of what made him so cool. ;)

As for kids- I don't have any of my own so I'm far from any sort of authority, but most kids just seem naturally attracted to whatever will kill them fastest, lol! I was never like that, but then again, I was the seven year-old on the playground who tried vainly to explain to my peers why heaving a big rock from the top of the highest playground obstacle onto a toy truck far below wasn't a good idea. I.E., the oddball.

Your son is smart, though; I don't see him as the type to go chasing after something genuinely nasty in your backyard. And fortunately, the wilds of Michigan are a bit tamer than those of Australia! ;) But yeah, I think he'll eventually have an appreciation for the risks and the warnings. I don't know when that tends to kick in, though; I imagine it's different for everybody.
Purrsia Kat: tcats logopurrsia on September 6th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Two cents or so
Oh yeah, fark. Granted, those antics can amuse but comms like that easily take topics like this one too far. I can see why you're irked.

As for kids- I don't have any of my own so I'm far from any sort of authority, but most kids just seem naturally attracted to whatever will kill them fastest, lol!

Yeah, pretty much! I think a lot of it comes from not understanding their own mortality, let alone anyone else's. And I suppose the age of reaching that understanding differs. Apparently, mine doesn't quite get it yet. I mean, after getting quiet and misty eyed when we talked about Irwin dying, an hour later his perspective on it was being bummed that there'd be no more new episodes to watch. But then, that's how he related to the guy - someone he enjoyed watching on TV and loooking forward to seeing what he'd do next. He didn't personalize it or sympathize with the death like an adult would (thinking about how it would affect Irwin's family, or what it means to the cause he trumpeted, and so on), so it all came back to how it uniquely affected him with no greater scope to it. Because yes, even "good" kids often react this way to shows as well as serious matters like death.

I don't think I really got that either until a classmate of mine died when I was about Justice's age. I wondered if Irwin's death would be that wake-up call for J, because he REALLY liked the guy, but apprently, not so.

And yes, thankfully, there's not too much in Michigan where he could be in grave danger - we have like, one poisonous snake and it's pretty rare to come across. Phew! ;)

though she be but little, she is fierce: degasgolden_d on September 6th, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC)
Miusherimiusheri on September 6th, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC)
*hugs!* And good luck in school! =D
though she be but little, she is fiercegolden_d on September 6th, 2006 01:53 pm (UTC)
thanks - I'll need it! *still sick*
Miusheri: Laramiusheri on September 6th, 2006 01:56 pm (UTC)
::beats up sickness:: Hopefully it's nothing too incapacitating!
Ellieellie on September 6th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)

There are lots of horrible excuses for humanity. Steve Irwin was one of the really good examples of just how good people can be. Much like yourself and Remy and Krissy.

We're really lucky that we've got good peeps in our life.
Aikidoka, dreamer, seeker, general purpose geekmanycolored on September 6th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
Darwin Awards are for people who took themselves out of the gene pool doing something colossally stupid. Steve Irwin was not being stupid. Taking risks? Yes. But he was always intelligent about it.

I think Germaine Greer went way over the top saying that he tormented animals. I suspect if I were a snake or croc, I'd be mighty pissed off at the guy making me perform for the bipedal viewing audience, but (if I had more of a forebrain) I'd appreciate the fact that he was doing it to teach respect for me and my habitat. Trying to get humans to be a little LESS stupid about sharing the planet, a little more sane and safe for all of us.

And as for the baby fiasco, he was basically raising his kid the way he was raised. A little risky, but has anybody ever calculated the longterm risks of a society composed of people who have been sheltered and protected to the extremes that we are? I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but I think people went unbecomingly rabid about it.

I didn't like the man's politics in any way shape or form, but his environmentalism and work with wildlife were too important for me to even want to start digging into that.

I found out that he had little kids, and I hope they eventually come to feel good about the way he died doing his work, at the hands (at the sting?) of something he loved and respected.

I imagine if it weren't for them, if it hadn't been so early in his life, he would have gone out with a big rueful grin on his face "CRIKEY! HE FINALLY GOT ME!"
Kaurra_sing on September 6th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC)

if you ever get the address of where to send him stuff, please send my way? i'd love to send some things. God his death is still kicking in. Steve Irwin is DEAD. i have a talking steve doll. it will make me cry if i look at it
Miusheri: Laramiusheri on September 6th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Kickass icon! I'm keeping the one I made just days before this happened- fucking weird coincidence- but I haven't posted anything since that I think would be apropos for it. It should be used in the manner it was intended: for fun, 'cause I'm sure he would've wanted that =)

I'll definitely pass along any contact info I find. And I have his movie on DVD and just ordered a buttload of his other DVDs, so if you ever want to hang out and reminisce, lemme know =)
Kaurra_sing on September 6th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
i have the doll and some vhs's (yes VHS's! lolol) from back in the day :) One day we're totally doing that

Thank you :) I found it randomly and had to have it. Yours TOTALLY rocks, especially given the coincidence!!
Miusherimiusheri on September 6th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
Hardcore! I have an old 13" TV with a built-in VCR, so VHS is no problem. Tiny, but no problem! ;) It's the only way I can watch all the MST3K I taped while I was in university, hehe!
Kaurra_sing on September 6th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
lol i know! it's sad when you stop to think that THAT'S how long ago we watched steve and for how long
Applesapples491 on September 6th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
I've never watched any of his stuff .. i'd like too ...
Miusheri: crikeymiusheri on September 6th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
Next time we see you, this will be rectumfied!
pine_island on September 7th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)

I've watched his show on a handful of occasions and while I can't claim to be a fan, I did find him fascinating in that weird sort of way. I definitely respect and think his commitment and passion towards wildlife should be honored, even if I didn't always agree with certain of his deeds (like the child incident). For sure, he was one of the rare lucky ones who was able to make a living doing what he loved most and that if nothing else you have to admire...

I haven't been paying attention to the news lately but my guess is, from the sounds of it he was swimming over the top of the ray, and it must have gotten startled somehow and whipped its tail around (I've seen stingrays sweep their tails suddenly in motion and DAMN they move fast!), and unfortunately for Steve he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and wound up getting stabbed in the heart by its stinger. Whether it was the venom or the actual wound itself (my guess is the latter as it was said that he died almost instantly) that got him, I don't know. As he himself said, all wild animals are inherently unpredictable and he made a point of stating "don't try this at home, I'm experienced and the average person isn't" when handling particularly dangerous critters. Which of course makes his death all the more shocking because stingrays aren't aggressive animals - I always figured that if he wasn't able to live to a ripe old age he'd have gotten it from a crocodile or a black mamba snake or something like that. (I was freaking out watching one show once where he lay on the ground and let a black mamba crawl *right up to his face* and touch his face with its tongue before crawling off!! I was like, 'DUDE! Those fuckers' venom will kill you in like under a minute if they bite you!')

You can still send your thoughts about Steve to his widow Terri (sp?) - I'm sure there's got to be a site or some such that's accepting condolences, and I'm sure that all of them no matter how short or long or far away from will bring his family comfort. It really is a tragedy, and like you said especially moreso considering 1) the family he left, 2) the inspiration he provided to others, and 3) the awful truth about scumbags living longer and in better straits.

*offers you a spork for the Farkweeds* Some people are just jagoffs - what they're saying about someone else says more about them than it does the actual person in question.

And I remember you posting about Kaveh also. *hugs*
ex_gloaming180 on September 10th, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
hey Minna, came across your lj while surfing Ellie's friends list. Just wanted to let you know, the family is accepting donations to proceed to Wildlife Warriors Worldwide LTD...you can check it out at crocodilehunter.com

You can also leave a note of condolence on the funeral home registry...http://www.kennedy-stevens.com/obits.htm
(click on his name in the sidebar)

Miusherimiusheri on September 10th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! I'll definitely be checking both those sites out today after (ugh) laundry.

Who is this, btw? I'm drawing a most unfortunate blank ^_^*
ex_gloaming180 on September 10th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
it's allison...met you at the Perry Ren Faire, and maybe once again since then...used to live at the Geek House, and now I'm Erich's roommate...
Miusherimiusheri on September 10th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
Oh! Okay, gotcha! Hi! ::waves:: =) Sorry, well-endowed with memory I am not ^_^*

Thanks again for the links!