Yesterday I had a productive day. I got my appearing-on-camera haircut and purchased the last of my supplies for the trip down to Melbourne. I was 100% excited and ready to be heading down to PAX Aus in less than a fortnight. I was going to pretend to have the job I’ve wanted so long, the job I’ve made for myself with this website. Yet I already knew the highlight of my trip would be seeing two of my greatest idols, Giant Bomb‘s Jeff Gerstmann and Ryan Davis, and in some small way being part of their latest shenanigan. I was going to meet the the guys that made me want to do the job I pretend to have.
Today has been very different. Today I learned that the aforementioned Ryan Davis has passed away. Today and I aren’t getting along so well.
I woke up about about two hours ago, at the strangely early time of 6:30AM. After remaining in the dark for a few minutes, weighing up whether or not I’d be able to get back to sleep, I decided to reach for my phone and check Twitter. All hope of getting back to sleep left me pretty quickly. I had seen Alex Navarro’s foreboding tweet “I am not ready for today” the night before, and whilst my initial response was one of dread, I also reasoned it was a Monday after a long weekend – no one is ever ready for those. A few hours worth of sleep & tweets later brought the heartbreaking truth.
I was stunned at first, as I’m sure everyone was. I then read the next series of tweets rapidly, hoping for a punch-line to this practical joke. One is yet to come. I have since spent my time reading all the wonderful things people – friends, colleagues, acquaintances & fans alike – have had to say about Ryan. It has been a truly bitter-sweet experience. Whilst pained by the loss, it has been heartwarming to read of so many people’s experiences with Ryan, and how purely positive all experiences seem to have been. Reminiscing as various people share photos, videos or animated gifs of all the beautiful, bizarre and ridiculous things he has done has brought so many smiles to my face in this past hour, just as they brought endless joy to myself and so many others as he shared them with us throughout his life.
I saw so much of myself, and what I wanted myself to be, in Ryan Davis. He was always ready with a joke and quick to a smile. He could be so charmingly witty, hilariously cruel and strangely vulgar at any time. He always had an strong opinion, but it was always justified and never forced upon others. He was a wonderful host; always welcoming bizarre derailments and yet somehow knowing when to eventually put things back on track, or better yet how to take them to such ludicrous extremes. He seemed to forge such fast and strong friendships with all he met, and brought the very best out of every individual or group. He had varied and wonderful dynamics with each of his colleagues, but most of all with Jeff Gerstmann. If you could have locked those two in a room for a few hours, you’d be printing comedy gold every single time. Fortunately for us, they did so on a regular basis and shared it with the world.
I was very much looking forward to experiencing this first hand just 10 days from now. I am incredibly saddened to know that I have missed that chance. I have held so much respect for Ryan for so many years, and he has given myself and countless others nothing but joy. It speaks volumes that so many with so little direct interaction with a man could feel such loss, yet I can’t even begin to fathom how those that were close to him must feel. My heart and sincerest condolences go out to his friends, family and wife.
I am so thankful that he has shared so much of his life with us, so that we may continue to receive the joy that he offered. I am sure that he would take great pride and joy in seeing us all relive our experiences with him with a smile on our faces.
Thank you, Ryan Davis. You were an endless inspiration to me. You were loved by all and will be missed by all. Thank you.
Some stirring words from some fine folk: