An old friend of mine died recently. He was young, late forties. We were not close or anything. In fact, I only met him in person once; we knew each other through online roleplaying from years and years ago, well before MMOs, when text-based MUSHes were still popular. This would be the late nineties, when I was an undergraduate and shortly thereafter. I can’t count the hours we spent making up stories during that time.
I remember his arrival on the MUSH as a newbie very distinctly – this was AmberMUSH, for the curious – as I happened to be one of the people who greeted him. It was clear very quickly that he didn’t need to be shown the ropes – he was good out of the box, a very selfless and skilled roleplayer already. I learned more from him over the years than the other way around. He was older and gave me some pretty good life advice, as well, on occasion, which I didn’t listen too very well; I was young and stupid then, and only older and slightly smarter now. I think I would have been happier back then had I emulated him more closely.
I got back in touch with him a year ago, when I ran into and recognized his old nickname online; too briefly, of course. He had kept on RPing in a multitude of forms, whereas I had stopped around ’00, but we still had mutually excellent taste in games.
I have to say that I wasn’t expecting to hear about his death anytime soon – I figured I wouldn’t start getting news like that until I hit 70, at least. My RPing days were bittersweet overall, but he was a very bright and friendly spot in an often dark expanse.