A man named Mike Dayton says he will jump off the Golden Gate Bridge next week. He told Tom Snyder, the television talk show star, that fainthearted officials in San Francisco would not give him sanction to leap from their bridge. So he must do it when no one is looking. Although that wounds him deeply, for he had convinced the networks to pay for his plunge, Dayton says he will go through with it as a matter of sport.
"At first, 30 feet scared me," he said, speaking of mental victory over the 230-foot height of the Golden Gate. He has thought this out: His body will be plummeting 80 miles per hour and will need only four seconds from liftoff to splashdown. "I will go into the water feet first," Dayton said. "Like an arrow."
Ambition moves us all, and Dayton's goal in life is to accomplish a certain "10 feats of strength." He never told us what those feats are, save to say he has done five; two he named were breaking police handcuffs locked on his wrists and bending a quarter in half with his hands.
The leap into San Francisco Bay would put the young man more than halfway home to his goal. The possibility it would also leave him unable to try his other four stunts occurred to Snyder, who came down with the quivers when Dayton spoke of his project as "the death drop."
Not that he is foolhardy. Dayton will leap only when the bay water is calm, about 4 in the afternoon, he said. And he will wear specially designed padding in a protective uniform. By then, viewers recognized Snyder as a man who sees stepping into a bathtub as the ultimate risk. And Snyder said to Dayton, "What if you wore a dunce helmet?"