Written by Brian Moore:
I moved to Columbus for law school in August 2006 and met one of my best friends in Danny O'Keefe that same month. I hardly ever recall the first instances of when I met anyone and as I've gotten older, I've become very bad with names. The first time I met Danny, however, for some reason just sticks in my mind.
As First Year's (or 1L's) for short, we got herded around like cattle to all of these orientations and whatnot. I'm not sure which particular one this was but it ended with a "picnic" in Capital's parking lot under a massive white tent. I sat down at some table and a couple seats over from me I noticed this blonde guy with a beat up John Deere hat and flannel shirt on. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, a John Deere hat. That guy doesn't give a s#!@. Sweet." He had a spaced out look on his face and I got the impression he was like me, and didn't know anyone there. I didn't talk to him directly but naturally all of the people at the table started the obligatory, "where are you from?" questions. To my chagrin, everyone said something typical like Columbus or Worthington until it was my turn and I said Cincinnati. I thought for sure I was going to be the only guy from Cincinnati in my class. To my shock, Danny said Cincinnati too. I remember we made eye contact then and we gave the knowing Cincinnati nod.
I slid over to where he was sitting sometime later and like any good Cincinnatian, I started with the obligatory question, "Where'd you go to school?" Someone from anywhere else on the planet would have responded with their college. Danny knew better. His response was "Moeller." I said, "Cool. I went to X." Moeller and X are archrival, all guy high schools. X and Moeller guys tend to hang out at mutual parties and have mutual friends. Naturally, we had mutual friends but never actually knew each other. Further, he knew friends of mine at Dayton and I knew friends of his at Miami. Yet, we did not know each other. We probably were even at the same parties in high school. It took a law school ice breaker picnic 100 miles north in Columbus for our worlds to collide.
Once school started, I didn't see as much of him during the week because we were in different sections (meaning we had no classes together and the classes were at different times). I remember the first time I ran into him in school was in the lobby. I was talking with him when someone behind me called my name and I turned around to talk to that person. I swear my head was not turned for more than 20 seconds and when I turned back, Danny was gone. The next time I ran into him in school, it happened again. I was talking with him on the second floor, I turned around for a half second, and by the time I turned back around, I saw only his backpack disappearing into a stairwell. From that day on, I decided his nickname should be "Batman." He did nothing to change my mind. He'd show up in random places in the building as if appearing from no where. He'd suddenly appear next to me in the library. When he wasn't within my sight he seemed to appear in different places in the building according to different people I'd talk to. It was seriously starting to freak me out. And so his legend grew.
He, Joe, and I all lived on our own as 1L's but we joined up as roomates for our 2nd and 3rd years. I've never had more fun in my whole life than I had living in that house. Legendary stories emerged from every single one of our nights out. Sobriety was often in question. Our group of friends developed to the point that we called ourselves "the Dynasty." Each of us had a nickname; Danny's was "the Mystery." We'd often think he was upstairs in his room doing work because we hadn't seen him all day and his car was there. He'd actually be out somewhere else and just didn't tell anyone he was leaving or where he was going. He was notoriously awful at answering cell phone. Other times, his car would be gone and we'd htink he was gone but suddenly at 5 PM he'd emerge from his cave and just say "Sup Broskis." Joe and I ceased trying to figure him out after a while. He was just the Mystery. And we loved him for it.
I suppose in some sick twist of fate, Danny lived up to both of his nicknames on May 6, 2011. Danny was Batman, a superhero who sacrificed himself to save another's life. Why of all days his car was in the garage that morning rather than on the street is a Mystery. It sounds stupid, but I remember thinking exactly that when I was informed of the full details of what happened. When I first heard of what happened is one of those moments like 9/11 where I will forever mark time. I remember where I was and exactly what time it was. It took me months to believe it was real.
By some miracle, he's still here with us now. For that I'm eternally grateful. I'm also grateful for any and all of you who can help the O'Keefe family and raise money so that he can get the rehab he needs to get all the way back to where he was. I need to be able to tell him Moeller sucks and hear him say X sucks more back to me for my life to be complete. Danny of course has higher standards than I do so he has a lot further to go. With our help, he can get there.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for donating.