Jackass first came out when I was about 12. I remember missing out on the first few episodes, but hearing electric buzz about it during lunch and recess with all my friends. I finally caught an episode over the weekend with my best friend Mike Fishburn, and I was immediately hooked. I watched Jackass religiously from that point on.
But, like a drug user, at a certain point, Jackass just wasn’t enough, and I craved more. I was lucky enough to have a friend that introduced me to CKY2K. It was his 15th birthday, we had been out sailing all day with his stepdad, named Steve Martin, and rather than fish, I had caught my very first alcoholic buzz. We watched it in the middle of the night, it was a low quality internet copy of the movie, and the setting and bootleg factor made it stand out as one of those classic “don’t tell your parents” experience. It was tantamount to smoking my first cigarette or the first time I got to play with some boobies, except not quite as cool as the boobies. I remember laughing so hard that I woke up the next morning and my stomach hurt like I’d been catching up on 14 years of pushups.
That was the day I went from being an addict to a ravenous user. I didn’t give a fuck that it was stupid and childish, because I was (and still am) stupid and childish. Luckily, my job at Gamestop let me dig through the shipments of used DVD’s first, and I was able to snag up the entire collection, including Bam Margera’s directorial debut, Haggard. I nearly wore those disc’s out.
I think the death of Ryan Dunn hit me harder than most, and I spent most of my week marathoning through the CKY, Jackass and Viva La Bam dvd’s I still own. Dunn was always my favorite, possibly because he seemed like the everyman in both groups. He’s the Charlie Brown of the gang, getting poop smeared on his face or being forced to insert a toy car into his ass. He wasn’t as suave as Johnny Knoxville, not as unpredictable or unhinged as Bam or Steve-O, and not a gimmick, like Wee Man, Preston or Party Boy. Ryan was the anchor that let the viewer experience the madness. He was the most relatable person on the crew and its truly tragic that he died so young.
Its easy to disapprove of his death. Drunk driving is hard to defend, and I completely believe Dunn was in the wrong; but thats not why I’m memorializing him. Everyone makes mistakes, and his unfortunately ended his live. Unfortunate for him, but even more so for his family and fans. Rarely am I one to get worked up or emotional about the death of a celebrity, but I truly believe the world is a dimmer place without Random Hero. If ever I’m at a time in my life where I’m legally allowed to grow a great big bushy beard, I will, and it will be for Ryan Dunn.
Ryan, Thanks for the laughs, thanks for taking poo to the face for our entertainment and thanks so much for growing that epic beard. I hope your riding dinosaurs in heaven with Macho-Man Randy Savage and Edgar Allen Poe.