Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"I don't want to have to say it."

I never knew Ryan Davis - not personally. I was, like most people on this Earth, bearing witness to his exploits through the medium of the internet. Videos, streams, podcasts, and other assorted multimedia formats are perhaps my only exposure to Ryan's life. And yet I did feel like I knew the man.

I didn't. I absolutely did not. If the outpouring of support following his tragic death has shown me anything, it's that I understood but the barest percentage of who Ryan Davis was. Regardless, his passing hit me like a punch to the gut. Today, I broke out crying in front of my father, afraid that Ryan's 34 years on the Earth might unfortunately be mirrored in my own. I was afraid to die.

And that's crazy, because, I'll be blunt, I have been depressed to the point of being suicidal for the better half of the past decade. Lots of people I respected and enjoyed have died this year, most prominently film critic Roger Ebert - one of the few voices in criticism I respected as much as a person as an academic. But Ryan Davis... the more I think about it, the more I realize that I only ever respected him as a person. There was no "critic" Ryan Davis to detach from the bright, bubbly personality that I invited onto my computer so frequently. Just Ryan.

So, as I was saying, I was afraid to die. And as someone who is constantly suicidal, that's... it's kind of stupid. Yeah? I went from being totally okay with passing on, both myself and others, to being utterly terrified of the notion. I was scared I was going to die in my sleep, so I sat nerve-wracked in bed until I eventually passed out at 4am. Well... obviously I wasn't that scared, cos a rational person would have made themselves a pot of coffee. I'm not rational, obviously. Also, I hate coffee. So, there.

I realized, though, in an almost drunken daze, why it was I was afraid to die. I wasn't before Ryan Davis passed, but I was after.

I have done close to nothing I've wanted to do on this planet yet.

Ryan Davis may not have either. I can't say for sure, and I don't want to guess. But I can say this - the man has left a legacy of laughs behind the likes of which are unparalleled. At the time of my writing this, videos of his are cycling Giant Bomb's front page without thought for pause - an endless, consistent stream of his warmth, humour, and insight. The man, in his leaving us, has been solidified forever in, not only the hearts and minds of his friends, family, and colleagues, but in his contribution to popular culture - being himself, and presenting it to a wide audience.

I want to do the kind of things he has done.

Ryan Davis is a true inspiration to me.

It might sound selfish, but Ryan's death most heavily effected me because I realized that his life was one that will probably never truly die. He left his mark on everyone (or so it would seem), so efficiently, just by being, that he represents so many of the ideals I have failed to strive towards. So instead of coming out of this tragedy by being saddened that he's gone... I'm going to instead use it to give myself hope.

We all should be more like Ryan Davis, this much is true. But I'm only directly in control of one human body at the moment, and that's mine, and so that'll be my goal. My aim is to be... hell, even a quarter as good as Ryan Davis was. Because that's what he's inspired in me. He was, truly, one of the best of us, and his radiance will never dim. If I can be the fraction of him that I knew of, I can make the world a brighter, funnier, warmer place.

I've seen a lot of people say "RIP Ryan Davis." I don't want to have to say it. The big man'll rest in peace whether we wish it for him or not. My plan is to make sure his death gets the better of me in a positive way. I want to stride forward, not in his image or memory, but in his shadow. As long as Giant Bomb is one of the websites that convinced me I want to write about videogames on the internet, I can let Ryan's spirit live on, so, that's what I'll do. I'll press forward.

Like I said, if I can bring across even the fraction of the spirit I saw in him, I'm pretty confident he'll have made my tiny corner of the world just that much more significantly brighter, and my life that much more hopeful. It seems horribly vain to talk about my future when discussing someone else's death, I know.'s what he's left in me, though. True hope. To the end.

...oh, but I do, don't I? I do need to thank him personally. I can't, but I need to. So... yeah, what the hell. It's probably fitting, considering. So, Ryan Davis, thank you. Thank you so, so much, for everything you've given me, and everyone. And, though I'm sure you'll do it anyway, rest in peace. I mean that from the bottom of my heart, duder.