Sing Something for Me.

I approached the autograph table with a bit of trepidation. I was about to chat up a television legend, after all.

Ed Asner, star of such hit series as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant, has won seven Emmy Awards, including one for the epic miniseries Roots. He does a lot of work for animated series and movies, too, with that distinctive voice of his: He played J. Jonah Jameson on the 1990s version of Spiderman, Hudson on Gargoyles, Cosgrove on Freakazoid, Ed Wuncler on The Boondocks, and Carl Fredricksen – the old man – in Pixar’s Academy Award-winning movie, Up.

And there I was, standing right in front of him, choosing which of several 8×10 photos he would sign for me.

I may or may not have peed a little.

I opted for the non-character-related photo, a simple one of the actor alone, smiling in a tuxedo. I told him it was because he looked so classy in it. He smiled, thanked me, and grabbed his pen, all without really glancing up. The man is 84 years old and DragonCon can be tiring for celebrity and con-goer alike; I wasn’t surprised he was a bit aloof. Dean Stockwell was outright surly a few years back.

“Do you want it personalized?” Mr. Asner asked.

“Yes, please,” I said. “My name is Diva.”

He looked up for the first time and met my eye.

“Diva? D-I-V-A?”

“Yes,” I nodded and smiled, “Like the opera singer.”

A mischievous look flashed on his face. I think he expected my “diva” moniker didn’t carry the weight of anything other than a nickname, so he sat back very slightly in his chair and offered me a challenge.

“Sing something for me.”

I did not hesitate. I launched immediately into the first eight bars of Mozart’s Placido e il Mar. I watched his eyes moisten a little … or maybe it was mine. Or both. But when I stopped, he looked at me, shook his head in disbelief and said, “Oh, geez, that was beautiful!”

I thanked him. Like, a LOT. I think I even curtsied.

He muttered more praise while autographing for me. When he handed me the photo, he once again met my eye – this time a bit more deeply – and said, “I mean it. That was just beautiful. I can’t tell you how much.”

I smiled so widely my cheeks still hurt now, days after the encounter. I wish I’d thought to thank him right there, on the spot, for all the entertainment he’s given me over the years, but my sheer elation trumped my etiquette skills. He’ll have to settle for me thanking him here, on the old Interwebz.

Thank you, Mr. Asner. THANK YOU.

Hey, Freakazoid …

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