My nemesis is dead.
For the past quarter century, every time the notorious Lou Grant actor appeared on film or television in my presence, I would shake my fist at the screen and yell, “Damn you, Ed Asner!”
Admittedly, he’s a weird choice of nemesis, but I have my reasons.
Back in 1997, I was coming back from an appearance at the San Diego comic con. Having hopped a train to Los Angeles, I was trying to get a flight to Montreal. To save a buck, I was flying standby. My Dad used to work for Air Canada, so I was able to fly on a free pass from time to time provided I was willing to go standby. Usually, that wasn’t a problem. There are always spare seats and last-minute cancellations on damn near every flight.
And I was eager to get home. After making the rounds at the convention all week, I felt like I was coming down with something. I only had to hold out for five or six hours more and I’d be in my own bed, sleeping it off.
I was waiting in the lounge for final word about that seat I was hankering for when He showed up.
For whatever reason, Ed Asner was on his way to Montreal. Given the state of exasperation coming from the booker, this was a very last-minute thing, but he had the cash to pay his way, and he was determined to get on that direct flight.
He got the last seat.
Hours later, they were able to book me a standby seat to Toronto. From there, I’d be able to grab another plane for the final hop to Montreal.
By then, there was no doubt. I was sick. Horribly, wretchedly sick.
It didn’t get any better on the plane, and dealing with the authoritarian shitbag customs agents at Pearson International only made things worse. By the time I rolled off the plane in Montreal, I was angry, exhausted, and deathly ill.
I blamed Ed Asner. For years.
It didn’t matter how many charming old-man roles he played, how many beloved Pixar cartoons he headlined, or how fondly he was remember for his signature curmudgeonly roles. He was a thorn in my side. One of us had to go. As it turns out, he went, finally, at the age of 91, today.
My nemesis is dead.