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Damn Daniel Is the Internet at Its Nicest

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Photo: Ellen/Youtube

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The Damn Daniel meme entered our lives 11 days ago. And unlike everything else the internet touches, it hasn't completely tarnished or turned into garbage. If anything, Damn Daniel has only gotten better over the past almost-two-weeks of viral fame. And yes: I love the Damn Daniel meme. Here's why.

Since the beginning, the Damn Daniel meme has been a rarity in our World Wide Web. Unlike most internet sensations, this meme only spreads positivity. It's not a basketball superstar's crying face that we now associate with every failure; no "what are those?" to tease people about their unstylish sneakers. This is literally just 30 seconds of one high schooler complimenting his friend in a funny voice.

Second, Damn Daniel passes the age-old, President's Challenge litmus test for meme you would want to get a beer with (in this hypothetical scenario, Daniel is of legal drinking age). From what we've seen, he seems like a super chill, genuine guy. When Damn Daniel, real name Daniel Lara, made his inevitable appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, he said things that would have been mildly cringe-worthy coming out of any mouth other than a naive 14-year-old's.

"I went to the mall, I wanted to shop, but at the same time I wanted to see if people would maybe recognize me a little," Lara tells Degeneres. It's the equivalent of admitting the things we all do on the internet but don't really talk about.

It's being open about incessantly refreshing your Instagram to see how many likes you've gotten, or me treating my Twitter analytics like the Bible. Most of us would have played it cool: I went to the mall to shop and what-do-you-know I got recognized. Lara's honesty only endeared him to me more.

"The girls are just a huge bonus out of all this," he tells Ellen. "I think I'm not a rush to get married anytime soon." These are the very sincere words of a high school freshman.

The man behind the camera, Josh Holz, is just as genuine. When the meme first caught fire, he tweeted out, "Love you bro" and tagged Lara. A couple days ago he tweeted, "love making people laugh." And it feels so good to believe him.

Now, Hollywood Life is reporting that Lara has turned down a modeling contract, which has become the next phase of viral stars looking to cling desperately to their fifteen minutes of fame. Instead, Lara wants to focus on his swimming career so that he can get a scholarship and go to college. This is literally the least myopic thing a 14-year-old has ever done.

Meanwhile, others are already cashing in by selling fake Damn Daniel white Vans on eBay for thousands of dollars. With his lifetime supply of Vans, Lara could easily sell some Damn-Daniel-worn Vans on the site for a reasonable haul. My heart says he's walking around at school back at it again with his same ol' beaters, though.