I've spent the last 24 hours in somewhat of a daze. In lieu of trying to put my own thoughts into words last night, I decided to spend my time reading everyone else's and filling up the Bomb Shelter page with blogs from some of our amazing community's all-stars. I don't know what else can be said at this point, so I'll try to keep this short. Others have more eloquently and accurately conveyed how much the man meant to this community, so I just wanted to talk about some of my personal favorite memories of Ryan. Yes, like many have pointed out, it does feel awkward to get so emotional about someone we didn't really know in the traditional sense. But, fuck it. There's no shame here. I don't pretend to have known the man personally, but I did have the chance to meet him a few times.
I first met Ryan at PAX Prime 2010. @heavyduty32 and I had recently sent a mailbag of frozen Chick-Fil-A to the Whiskey offices. So, when we saw him at The PAX 10 booth, we had to go say hello. He immediately lit up in that energetic, magnetic way we've all come to know and love. He was kind enough to sign my copy of Deadly Premonition and he was the one who suggested we should all get a picture together. Not just one, but a second featuring Ryan photobombing us.
About seven months later, I was in Boston for PAX East 2011. At the GB meetup, Ryan recognized me as I was passing by the booth he was in. "Marino!," he said. Somewhat stunned that he knew my name, I stuck out my hand to say hello. Ryan grabbed it, squeezed hard, turned to another person at the booth and said, "This man sent us Chick-Fil-A sandwiches across the country." Then, he kissed my hand and said, "He is a hero." Later that night, we were about to leave so I stopped by his booth again to say thanks and goodnight. Even after all this, my social awkwardness led me to believe maybe I would just be bugging him at this point, so when I approached him, I said "Hey, I don't want to bother you too much but I just wanted to say th-." Ryan cut me off and basically shouted "Well, you're bothering me now!" He had a gift for cutting to the quick and then immediately making you laugh about it. No one was safe.
I got to talk to Ryan in person a few more times at various PAX events between then and now. He always addressed me by name (even if it wasn't my real name) and made me feel immediately comfortable to talk about just random shit with him. I feel lucky and privileged to have been able to do so. He truly brought joy to every room he was in and every person he spoke to. Ryan had a unique, honest-to-goodness, kindness about him and an infectious laugh that will be impossible to replace.
Ryan Davis once told me I was a hero. No, sir. You were the hero.
Thanks for everything.