How I met Tom

Hey y'all. Fire Guy Ryan here.

Yeah, that guy. You may have seen me over the past year and a half on the ComicTom101 YouTube channel. Or perhaps on my Instagram page, @fireguyryan. You also may never have seen me before, since I have appeared very infrequently on our channel's highest-viewed speculation content. But that's simply because my history with comics is far less involved and lengthy than the rest of the fine folks on our ComicTom team, and as a storyteller myself I find I am much more drawn to the art and the story than the speculation side of our hobby. Even though speculation can be its own kind of thrilling.

But I digress. You didn't click on this article to hear me talk about why I'm not world famous yet. You clicked to hear the story of how ComicTom and I met and became friends. It's an interesting story, one that has absolutely nothing at all whatsoever to do with comic books.

For how close I am to Tom, for how much time we spend together and how effortless our on-camera conversations can be, it still surprises me how new our relationship is.

We met in early 2013. I was about to turn 24, and having just finished working at the local mall for the past three years I was looking for something more in line with my interests. I was getting sick of working at a cash register, and didn't want to get "stuck" working at the mall forever, like I had seen happen to several other people at the time. So I quit my job at Jamba Juice (incidentally, I've never enjoyed working at a place more than I did working at Jamba) and started looking for a job that could utilize my freaky love for data entry, numbers, and organization. I thought a bank teller position might be a good mix of my love for neatness, numbers and counting, as well as my prior experience working a cash register. I applied for the job, and got called in for an interview. When I got to the bank and walked into the conference room for the interview, sitting across from me at the table was a young kid in a suit and Harry Potter glasses. He shook my hand and introduced himself as Tom. And so began one of the most consequential conversations of my life thus far.

I don’t remember much of the interview, in retrospect.  I was nervous. It was my first “adult” job, and I really didn’t want to blow it.  It was myself, Tom, and one other manager from the bank. Tom’s charisma and sense of humor put me at ease - we bonded almost immediately.  The one thing I do remember from the interview is being asked “What do you like to do in your spare time?”  I mentioned that I was a lover of art: I liked to read, write, watch films, etcetera.