One Ice Cube at a Time

A year ago, I bought a bottle of bourbon, to remember a man I met only once.

It was at a (likely ill-advised, in hindsight) attempt to have a “live studio audience” at the Whiskey Media offices, during their afternoon show. The only interaction that we had was when Ryan, as the de facto host, was trying to keep a multi-headed beast moving in the same direction, and the audience was clearly messing with the usual flow. He looked up as we were cracking jokes with the interns, and gruffly said “Hey, guys? Could you keep it down?” It reminded me that for all the silliness, Ryan regarded what he did with as much seriousness as any other professional does with their job. His job was to entertain, and he was very, very good.

A little over a year ago, I got a text message from my then-girlfriend, now-fiancée.

“Could you tweet at one of the Giant Bomb guys you listen to? I think he’s at my work.”

I did, and sure enough, it was Ryan. He was doing the last of his pre-wedding arrangements. “Helluva way to spend my Sunday morning.”

She talked to him for a bit, and he was gracious, funny, and open with her, in a way that made her feel like they were old friends. They talked about Disneyland, as both of them love visiting the parks. He told her to tell me that he had revealed “all sorts of trade secrets,” just to make me jealous.

He talked about how life had finally settled down, and that’s why he was able to get married, and start a family.

A month later, I was buying a bottle of Eagle Rare, with a plan. Any evening that I remembered Ryan, or thought about how tragic a loss like that was, I’d have a shot in his memory. One ice cube only, as he enjoyed it.

I’m sipping on the last of it this evening, as I write this, and I hope that wherever he is, he’s smiling with that wide grin of his, knowing just how many of us his work touched.

John Wentworth (@johnlongview)

July 04 2014

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