Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Chris Bledsoe

Last year Chris Bledsoe, a friend from the game industry, lost his battle with cancer. I always tell people that Chris was a hell of a guy, and I barely knew him! We met when my Chris was working for his "best WotC boss", Bob, who had been Bledsoe's boss at a couple of other jobs and who was still a good friend. Bob, Chris, Chris, and I were up in the wilds of British Columbia at a fun little gaming convention held by a local retailer/doctor. (Guess you've gotta do what you can to fill out the necessary jobs when you live in the wilds of British Columbia.)

Bob introduced us to Chris while we hung out in the host's closed retail store. I forget why we were there... could have been to tour the place, could have been because Grant wanted to hunt up some product or something. I just remember sitting around with Bob and the Chrises and chatting away about their wild exploits as younger, less domesticated men.

An hour or so into meeting Chris Bledsoe, I found out that he'd only recently recovered from cancer. He looked fit and healthy, though his hair was barely a stubble. Apparently he'd previously had long hair and a big ol' moustache, but the cancer therapy had ruined that look for him, for a while. He was in fine spirits, quite jolly, and not concerned about his prospects in any visible way. My impression of him was that he was a little guy, slightly built, but that might have been a side effect of his cancer or treatment too. He was definitely a good deal shorter than me, though, possibly as much as a foot. Small height, but BIG personality.

That's all it took. I was absolutely smitten with the man, in a completely non-romantic way. He was one of those guys who has charisma. I'd only see him a few times a year, as we each did our stints as game company lackeys at various conventions and trade shows, but it was always a pleasure. He always greeted me as if I were some long-lost friend, and even chatting with him for a short time was guaranteed to have me laughing and smiling. He was "a character" I think you'd say. Mischievous, the kind of guy who would purposely flood your bathtub while you were passed out in your hotel room, as a prank. "Colorful" but just sweet natured enough to not be a fucker. He always had a posse, made up of loyal friends, guys he'd worked with and gone to bat for.

Last March, I saw Chris Bledsoe at one of these shows, in Las Vegas. The show was wrapping up, and I was dashing off somewhere, when who should I spy but Mr. Bledsoe, all decked out in black, adorned with flame (befitting his personality). I swung past him, commenting on how he was looking sharp, and he happily announced, "I'm on my way to my wedding!" Sure enough, his lovely girlfriend and "the usual suspects" were standing right there (all of them dressed up and looking nice) but until he said anything, I couldn't have told you there were other people in his group. It was all about him, a moment in the spotlight, or so it seemed to me.

I stopped to give him a hug and a kiss and wished him and Stacey my heartfelt congratulations, then waved them happily on to their way.

That was the last time I saw Chris Bledsoe, and less than five months later he was gone forever.

As part of this year's Origins Awards ceremony, there will be a memorial for Chris. If I have my way, his good friend and business partner will be making the trip to deliver a speech and share a little bit of Chris with those who may only have ever known him through his work. We're working out the details now and I'm hopeful that it will all come together on this short notice. If his friends can't be there to give the memorial, I will likely be slotted into the spot and will probably give an oral version of pretty much what I've written here. I'm a poor substitute for those who knew him well, but if it falls to me I'll do my utmost to make sure he gets his due and one last moment in the spotlight before his peers.

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