The Legendary Danny Doom
Danny Doom was the nickname he had given himself. I found It kinda fitting for a young man with such an unsettling death wish.
Although, It was rather his over abundance of social media pages that would strangely and openly declare him as some sort of legendary god. With his greasy midnight black hair and exceptionally dark brown eyes he surely resembled something more of a demonic being, than any sort of god I knew. Even, when Danny tried to smile you knew there was just something off about him. His gaunt looking face and durably pale complexion was almost constructed to never smile, and many times he would leave you speculating if you had just received an evil snarl.
Danny McBride, was his real name, back when I vaguely knew him in elementary school. Grade seven and eight to be exact. He really just kept to himself through those years.
Reflecting back… It was odd, how he eluded having any friends at all, even at such a young age. I mean, we all knew about his Online persona and reputation even then. Sure, he did common stunts. Making videos of himself doing things like jumping over bonfires, or riding his bike off insanely high roof tops. Almost, every time he would end up injuring himself in some brutally and horrific way. That didn’t seem to bother the incredible Danny Doom though, he craved the attention, like a vampire craves blood. He always had a devilish snarl even in his hospitalized selfies.
Within the short stint of six years that I followed Danny Doom’s Twitter account, he had truly inflicted some pretty gnarly stuff on himself. Four broken legs, five cracked ribs, a broken arm and two shattered wrists pinned together with a slew of steel. By the age of nineteen Danny had collected enough steel in his body that a junkyard magnet would be an admirable adversary.
“The Terminator ain’t got shit on me!” he was always known for tweeting, at least once a week and about his,“Reenforced skeletal structure.”
It wasn’t until just after my graduation that Danny decided to announce his next, and by far the most deranged stunt of his life.
He tweeted his plans of leaping off the hundred and seventy, five foot Hamilton Skyway bridge and splashing down into the narrow shipping canal just below. Immediately I thought that It was absolutely out of control. Every, normal human being knows a drop from such a height and into water. Would be like slamming into a concrete pad.
Danny, had always been rather fond of the hype leading up to his stunts. Bragging often and online about being basically untouchable, his arrogance towards mortality was utterly detestable. Often times, as soon as he would barely recover from one death defying stunt, his ten thousand plus twitter followers would always persuade him for more doom and gloom. To those people he was a joke. Many of his followers were not overly concerned that many of Danny Doom’s ideas were even remotely well thought out, or at best properly engineered. They simply lusted for the pending catastrophe.
Although many saw his utter recklessness, as hilarious jokes. It would be far and few who really questioned if in fact Danny Doom, was just merely suicidal.
I attempted several times to get in contact with Danny days before the stunt, with no luck.
The day of the bridge jump and his final stunt, had taken place on a warm Saturday afternoon in June. I remember it vividly, because I was having one bender of a pool party, to formally kick off summer and our recent graduation.
Around two thirty, that day Danny Doom released a tweet that relocated the entire party.
“Just getting to the bridge, stoked for the grand finally,” he eerily wrote.
Jesus, I thought, to myself. He’s seriously going through with this.
Unexpectedly, and I’m not sure exactly who said it, but the suggestion was tossed around the party, and that we all go and watch him do his stunt. I didn’t quite like it. The thought made my stomach lurch high into my throat and I voiced such opinions, and with no avail to my party guests.
Afterward, I recall us driving there and thinking myself what the hell were we about to witness? I knew that whatever it was, was probably and likely driven by the savage urge for the almighty need for doom and gloom.
The bridge itself was basically a massive elevated six lane highway connecting Hamilton, to another small city called Burlington. The only way to reach Danny’s launch spot was via the northbound lanes headed into Burlington. On that side of the bridge stood a large grey structure, that resembled a skeleton of a rainbow and held together with massive steel girders.
As we drove underneath the bridge we parked beside one of the monstrous support pillars, and about a stones throw away from the shipping canal. I prayed to myself that we wouldn’t find him perched up there, and that this was all just some sick joke to attract himself more followers. I sprang out of the car and instantly cranked my neck skywards, just to gauge the severity of the bridges height. It was utterly staggering to think anyone would survive such a decent into the murky canal below.
My phone violently vibrated in my pocket. It was another tweet, and this time it was accompanied by a picture of Danny, on the bridge and now over looking the canal. You could see a few of my pool party guests, all sprinkled to the Burlington side of the canal and starkly resembling tiny ants on a sidewalk.
His tweet along with the picture read. “But I always knew how to draw a crowd.” Evil Knievel
Jesus, I thought, swiftly making my way to the canals edge, and beating back the bright afternoon sun with my hand. I needed to gauge if he was actually up there. My heart sank when I could faintly see a shadowy figure, leaning dangerously over the railing.
Instantly, I felt a bubbling rage boiling over inside me. ”Why does he act so stupid?” I mumbled.
“DON’T DO IT,” I blasted up at him, through cupped hands, hopping my words would reach him in time. Somewhere In the back of my mind I assumed my voice could drive him away from the bridges rail.
What transpired next would seer itself deep into my brain and for as long as I shall live. People were honestly egging the man on. I had suddenly realized that this large crowd of about thirty had not gathered in any form of prevention, or in any such protest of the stunt, but rather as a savage collective. My first real experience with the doom and gloom generation. A generation so hell bent on seeing the destruction of life, that they will lure it out at any cost.
I was still lost in a haze of shock when the massive tanker ship caught my eye. My first instinct was to just scream and wave my arms wildly up at him, not to jump. Then I did the only thing that I felt I had left.
I tweeted him.
“@DannyDoom DO NOT JUMP!!!! THERE IS A TANKER SHIP COMING THROUGH THE CANAL!!!!!”
The last thing I truly remember, was dialling 911, then being overwhelmed by a dreadful blast of fear as it raced up my spine.
It was the dreadful, bone shattering slap that would keep haunting me and repeating over and over in my mind.
My brain struggled to fathom what had just happened and slowly I attempted to collect my thoughts. When abruptly I was startled by an ear blistering horn that roared and echoed off the under belly of the bridge.
We all just stood there in silence, watching the tanker ship as it slowly crept its way past and through the narrow canal, ever so gently absorbing every one of Danny Doom’s final ripples of life.
more by ROACH ADAMS
photograph by Superfamous