BRISBANE, Australia – The death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin has left the stingray world scrambling to effect damage control. Mr. Irwin, 44, died today after being stung by a bull ray on the Great Barrier Reef in northeastern Queensland state. He and several members of his film crew were stingray gigging.
“We’re just devastated,” said Jared Bednar, assistant coach of the South Carolina Stingrays ice hockey team. “We had planned to give away five hundred rubber stingrays on opening night this year. Now we’re afraid that kids won’t want to touch the damn things.”
Mr. Irwin, who was known for his Billy Mays approach to wildlife, died as he lived: getting in some creature’s face so the rest of us didn’t have to.
“Australia has lost a national treasure, and we have lost a shiteload of money,” said Wilf Tarney, chairman of the board of STINGRAY, the original sun-protection clothing company in Australia.
“Steve had just signed a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract to be the face of STINGRAY clothing. There’s no way we can go to court to take that money back from his widow and his two kids without looking like complete arsehloles.”
The economic fallout in the stingray world from Mr. Irwin’s death can scarcely be overstated. The stingray image is used to brand everything from cars to computer system coolers to disc golf equipment. Lost revenue resulting from Mr. Irwin’s death may never be regained, say stingray product analysts, especially if merchandise recalls and worker cutbacks follow in Mr. Irwin’s mourners’ wake.
“Our entire fall line of stingray pendants just died on the vine,” said Carson Long, senior jewelry designer at Stingray Manta Ray.com. “I always thought a crocodile would take him out—or a venomous snake—but this isn’t funny. You’d have to be a pretty twisted f*ck to wear a stingray brooch at this point.”
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