The Internet is a beautiful thing.

The Internet is a beautiful thing. Just the other day I was reading fervent tweets between various individuals I follow in the video game industry, and someone remarked "Internet, you really suck." In that moment, he wasn't wrong. There are plenty of times when I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly, but I just shook my head. The Internet doesn't suck - people suck, sometimes. But the Internet? The Internet is beautiful thing. 

One of the greatest gifts the Internet has ever giving me is a sense of belonging; a sense of comraderie and friendship. It has allowed me to have deeply personal relationships with people I've barely met (or in some cases, never met at all). It's granted me insight into the lives of people in faraway places, and allowed me to experience their character and follow them on their journeys. The Internet has transformed me from a "fan" into a "friend". Ryan Davis may not have known my name if we crossed paths on the street, but I was lucky enough to know him for the better part of a decade. I am a fan of Ryan Davis. Ryan Davis is my friend, and this letter is to him. It's a little long, but after reading it aloud I didn't want to edit it, so thank you for indulging me.

I remember so many great things about our friendship: the first time I read your work at GameSpot back in 2002, the day you announced your departure, the first episode of "Arrow Pointing Down"... Oh! What about the time I busted out in a fit of laughter at work because I put on "In the Can"? That was amazing. I'm also sure you remember literally rolling on the floor the first time you heard that Buckner and Garcia song about Giant Bomb. The song was amusing, but I was mostly laughing at how hard you were laughing. Man, that laugh... infectious.

I doubt you'd remember it, but I'll never forget telling you that you looked great and like you'd lost weight. "Thank you, but I've got a wedding coming up and this is the heaviest I've ever been." I bet you'd remember the kid doing the Ezio impression on the Boston sidewalks, though. You kept making him do it over and over again, just laughing your ass off.

You didn't know I suffer from depression, did you? I mean, I never said anything to you, so why would you? You helped me through some really hard times, Ryan. I've followed your work since I was in high school, and you always made me laugh, even when I felt like the world was collapsing around me. Your penchant for finding and pointing out the absurdity of life is truly a gift.

That's why I took it so hard when you blocked me on Twitter that one time. I know it was mostly in jest, but it made it harder for me to feel connected, to feel that friendship. I looked for you at PAX East that year so I could tell you I was sorry in person, but the only time I saw you was on the show floor briefly. I yelled your name and you turned around, but didn't see me waving. Eventually, a tweet got through to you from a friend or something and you unblocked me, but I never got to say I was sorry. I figured I'd see you next year, you know? I was in pretty bad shape anyway - it had been a rough year. I'm sorry, duder.

I can't believe it's been a year already. I mean, we didn't know anything for a couple of days, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. It's ingrained in my head like some sort nightmare. "Chris, you don't joke about things like that. It isn't funny." He wasn't making a bad joke. "Dude, I'm listening to him talk right now, there's no way..." and then the phone rang. Chris never calls me, we're texting people. I felt everything in my chest, and I pulled over on the highway. It was my first day on a new job and I was already running late, per usual, but I just had to stop. It's hard to drive when you're crying.

You would've laughed to know that Reuters reported on your death. Fucking Reuters, man! That's how you know you made it, right? When your death is actual news? I thought you'd get a kick out of that. And people did some really clever and amazing stuff in your name. They built a memorial to you in Rust, and it was like the only thing that people didn't ransack and pillage. Crazy. Someone got really clever and just added a comma to that t-shirt Jeff made, so instead it read "Fuck, Ryan Davis". I know that shirt was a joke, and I'm glad I own it, but I've retired it like I would an old concert tee. The tour was years ago, so let's pack this thing away before it gets all faded and torn, y'know?

Sometimes I get mad because I feel like people don't talk about you enough. I mean, I can't imagine how devastated your friends and family have been, and I know that everyone deals with things differently, but sometimes I just wish they'd acknowledge you a little more often. Maybe they do and I miss it. Vinny and I had a nice e-mail exchange back in December, and he said some great things about you. When I saw him at PAX this year we toasted in your name. It felt good to hear your friend talk about you again, and I'm sure it wasn't easy for him.

Of course, no one misses you like Anna. I wish I'd had the chance to know the both of you better, I'm sure you guys have some amazing stories. We talk from time to time, less now, but even though I'm a stranger I just like to make sure she's hanging in there. She made a comment recently about how much she'd been looking forward to having kids with you because you were on your way to being an incredible grumpy old man. It made me smile.

I should probably figure out some way to wrap this up, but I've never been good with endings. I just wanted to let you know we all still think about you and we miss you. We miss your amazing grin, and that hearty laugh that put Brimley to shame. We miss the way you used to give Brad shit on the podcast when he wouldn't say "e-mails". Thanks for all the time you shared with us, Ryan. We're all so grateful for this crazy Internet thing that gave us all the chance to call you our friend. The Internet... it's a beautiful thing.

Thanks, Ryan.

Justin Meader (@justinmeader)

July 03 2014

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