Topic: "Crikey" (2)
The first time that Frodo remembers watching Steve Irwin on some cable channel, he was attempting to find and capture each of the 10 deadliest snakes in the World. The first thing that Frodo noticed was that he was defying all of the conventional wisdom picking up each snake by the tail. He explained that it was not only safer than attempting to pin the snake and pick it up behind the head, but that it decreased the possibility that the animal would be harmed. Frodo stopped and paid attention.
The next time, when Frodo summoned Sam to watch this bizarre behavior, Irwin demonstrated why he was dubbed "The Crocodile Hunter." Frodo and Sam became regular viewers, not only because of the magnetic appeal of this young man, but because so much of the show took place in the "Outback" of his native Australia. Frodo did not know that viewers all over our small blue planet were doing exactly the same thing.
This past week, 44-year-old Steve Irwin was killed accidentally by a stingray while filming a segment for his television show off the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. As news reports indicate, the actual piercing of his heart by the barbed tail of the stingray was captured on video tape. It goes without saying that Irwin, had the accident struck another, would probably have argued to broadcast exactly what transpired. Frodo has no doubt that there would have been viewership far beyond those who actually watched Katie Couric this evening.
The effect that broadcast television has on the behavior of its' viewers has always fascinated Frodo. An example of the subtle influence that is woven into life by television occurred recently to Frodo at Lake Lovey. Frodo walked outside the cabin, alone strangely enough, and noticed movement in the driveway. For only the second time in more than 15 years, Frodo was confronted by an actual honest-to-Pete Copperhead.
The snake was about 4 feet long, and was slithering toward the rear of the cabin and the leaf camouflage of the deciduous forest. Anxiety was replaced by stupidity, and Frodo bent to pick up the snake by its' tail, something he had never before even contemplated. For some reason a small voice in the back of Frodo's head screamed, "Are you frickin' crazy?" Frodo was startled enough that he neglected to contemplate the danger posed to Mick, the Wonder Dog, or to Sam, for that matter, as he hesitated and allowed the snake to disappear into leaf cover. In two shakes of a lambs' tail, all sign of the snake had disappeared. Hopefully, Frodo's presence was akin to that of a Way Station and the traveler went on his way, far away.
Sam is not happy with Frodo over that faux pas to this day. Sam does not want Frodo to spend more time watching "Animal Planet." The situation is not a great deal different from Bilbo having forbidden young Frodo from ever watching "Peyton Place."
Frodo will miss Steve Irwin, and he finds it hard to believe that he will have to watch "Animal Cops" in his bedroom with a cover over the TV and the sound turned way down.