Well, with shock and disbelief, I write on the passing of Andy Rooney. At age 92, I suspect he had lived a complete and full life. I wonder if he had regrets? I wonder how much more insight he could have brought to those of us who relished in the last 10 minutes of 60 Minutes, every Sunday.
If you really think about it - Andy Rooney was the epitome of a consummate blogger. He blogged in visual strides. Where some might create the written blog for pointing out the oddities of life, or the irony of some event, or the creative way in which small consumer products are packaged in very LARGE containers (That was my favorite of Andy's segments), Mr. Rooney put his stoic face to the camera lens, and started to speak.
I am a pretty devoted Conservative. I hope we will unseat the current disaster of a President in the very near future. However, growing up in the Gartlan house meant CBS News. I grew up listening to "Uncle" Walter. Of course, Walter Cronkite was the staple of our house. My Dad was a Democrat and so CBS news was what was on the television. We watched the resignation of Richard Nixon, the man on the moon, the assassination of Bobby, JFK, and Martin. We heard about Medgar Evans, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the nightly summaries from Vietnam. The troubles at Penn State, the Kent University shootings, the civil rights era of the 60s unfolded in our shag green carpeted amphitheatre there on Yolanda Avenue.
After Sundays in the backyard, watching my Dad mow the lawn in his plaid golf shorts, black dress shoes, white t-shirt and golf cap, and eating burgers, we were then relegated to the den to watch 60 minutes. We were not permitted to watch much television as children; my parents felt that reading was more beneficial. However, 60 minutes was allowed. And sure enough, 60 minutes would never be the same without the 10 minutes of entertainment and parody from Mr. Rooney.
He was a gruff looking character. Stern and always appearing hunched over. I often wondered if he intentionally puffed himself up to appear that way; perhaps so that we might take him more seriously. He would cover the topics of ridicule. I loved the way he pointed out things that needed some line of explanation.
Later, after I grew up, moved out, had my own children, and formed my own opinions, I still was able to appreciate what Mr. Rooney was speaking of. I never really got a sense of where he stood on things on the partisan lines, but I knew he had a fine appreciation of pointing out the ridiculousness of life. You think about people like Jerry Seinfeld, or Dave Letterman, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, and even my favorite of the night time talk/news guys, Bill O'Reilly, and they all seem to have benefited from Mr. Rooney's fine repertoire. Whether or not a hard core conservative wants to admit it or not, there are some people in life who just break the barriers of all that, and get to the heart of the matter.
I consider myself lucky to have turned in for Mr. Rooney's last segment on 60 Minutes just a mere 5 weeks ago. How sad that, after all that time as a news journalist, and with a much earned retirement, Mr. Rooney was not able to enjoy his time away from the camera. But, perhaps that is what he intended all along.
Thanks for the memories, as they say. You were great!