I’m going to miss Andy Rooney. I never met the guy, but it’s like we had coffee together on a regular basis. He was a great talent – a Will Rogers sort-of-guy without the horse and lariat.
Rooney’s little snippets on “60 Minutes” were like the cherry on top. After about 58 minutes of in-depth reporting on charlatan televangelists, political corruption and other such items that bring bile to the throat, Rooney would often close out the show wondering about and commenting on ordinary everyday stuff like why gasoline prices always end in nine-tenths of a cent, why abbreviation is such a long word and why one ear always produces more wax than the other.
Now some people will say those are silly things to think about, but in all reality the chances of answering them are much greater than asking such rhetorical questions as why does the Pentagon pay $750 for a hammer. I’m guessing some bureaucrat probably argued that this price was for left-handed hammers, which obviously are much harder to find.
Andy Rooney was not a pundit. He was a humorist. Another reason I liked him so much. He was as full of satire as Congress is as full of, as full of well – you know what I mean. And thank God we have people like him who can make us smile because we have an abundance of those who can make us grit our teeth and wish hemorrhoids upon the lot of them.
He certainly was no fancy Dan when it came to his appearance. His hair – what little he had – was mostly disheveled. He always resembled a half-chewed cigar but comfortable in his chubby self and his less-than-stylish wardrobe. I don’t think I ever saw credits after a show where it said “Andy Rooney’s wardrobe provided by Hart, Shafner and Marx.”
Rooney always appeared to me to be someone I would like to sit in a bar with and discuss ordinary stuff – listen to his stories and his observations on mankind in general, animals, weather and those guys who wear their pants under their butts.
There are some things I would liked to have asked him. I would like to have known if he ever diagrammed a sentence after he left high school. I would like to know what he thought about UFOs, Bigfoot and term limits for Congress – all items or things that seem to be just out of reach and perhaps more in the realm of urban legend.
I would like to have known how he felt about “reality shows.” And I would liked to have known if he ever had a chance to appear on the show “Survivor,” could he build a fire by rubbing sticks together. And if he couldn’t have, I would like to have shown him how.
I would liked to have discussed country music with him. And would he have considered Bruce Springsteen the Merle Haggard of pop music?
Like I said, Rooney was not one of those Washington pundits who choose sides and never see any good in the other side, or if they do will purposely not mention it. Most of us already know what a pundit is going to say or write, which all boils down to either all Democrats are stupid or all Republicans are stupid.
Will Rogers once said, “I don’t belong to an organized party, I’m a Democrat.” Given the choices we have today, his comment might have lost connotation.
But Rooney would come off the wall with stuff that would make one stop and think. Very likely, few of us get up in the morning and wonder about a bill before the U.S. Senate. But we might wonder about that ear wax thing.
Rooney retired just a few weeks ago. And then he died. It was kind of like columnist Froma Harrop wrote: “It was basically like he said he was through and ‘now I’m leaving.’”
Yep, I’m gonna miss him.
Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.