Toasting the curmudgeon of all curmudgeons
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Andy Rooney died last Friday.
Most people know who Andy Rooney is. I think. Most likely if they are around my age or older, they probably know of him. If they are younger and are aware of Andy Rooney, they must really like Sunday night news shows.
Or they must really like Andy Rooney.
I like Andy Rooney because of his honesty. His “Last Word” commentary at the end of every “60 Minutes” newscast showed not only that he thought many things in life were wasteful and mind-boggling, but they were also funny. He used that grandpa-like grumpy humor to poke fun at life’s not-asked-often-enough questions and ridiculous inventions.
And Andy had a special level of grumpiness.
Think any grandpa in the history of the world past the age of 75 and both the old guys in the balcony from “The Muppets,” all rolled into one wry consumer advocate.
I didn’t know that much about Andy Rooney, aside from his “60 Minutes” broadcasts, until his passing. Just this past Sunday, “60 Minutes” ran the last interview with him, which originally aired Oct. 2, upon his retirement at 92. As a fan, this was a treat to hear a retrospective on his long career. How lucky for us. Or maybe Andy Rooney knew.
Sometimes, in life and death, we just know.
Andy said in his “60 Minutes” interview with Morley Safer that he loved to sit down at his typewriter to write. I may not be close to 92, but I have used a typewriter to write in my time. Yes, it’s true. I am no spring chicken, as they say. Writing with a typewriter is an old-fashioned experience not many young people these days can appreciate. Typewriters are long-lost tools of the craft.
Do I sound like Andy yet?
I did not know, until the interview, that Andy Rooney worked for the Army newspaper during World War II and was best friends with Walter Cronkite. Old-school news buddies.
How cool is that?
As the interview continued, I learned Andy Rooney and I had a little more in common than just the newspaper experience. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he worked as a comedy writer for Arthur Godfrey. He made $500 a week – a lot back then but enviable to this day. And he wrote jokes for a living.
That is so cool, Andy Rooney.
Andy Rooney mentioned that he often received flack for being too political. I knew where he was going.
I once poked fun at a vice presidential candidate, and a reader wrote me a not-so-nice email telling me to keep with funny and stay out of politics. At first I was hurt, but then I chalked that up to sound advice. I couldn’t make my way around the political arena if it were a Super Target.
I listened, and for the most part I’ve stuck to my guns on staying out of politics. Not that I don’t have my urges. Especially lately.
I’ll leave it that up to “Saturday Night Live.”
Morley Safer mentioned in the interview that Andy Rooney became grumpier instead of mellowing out as he aged. That is what I predict for my golden years. I can only hope my wit sharpens and that I question more than I back down.
Somebody’s got to do it.
I imagine Andy Rooney probably didn’t consider himself cool or hip or any of the other jargon to describe people who are right on in life. The curmudgeon in him probably didn’t subscribe to the pursuit of coolness or hipness.
Andy Rooney may not have known anything about what it’s like to be a Gen Xer. Or what it was like to be obsessed with Michael Jackson and Prince in his tweens. But he was a solid journalist, and he was funny.
How cool is that?
April E. Clark sees a beach and a really big boat in her future. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @aprilinglenwood.
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Summer market season begins this week in Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, with the return of the Tuesday evening Glenwood Downtown Market and Music Series and the Carbondale Farmers’ Market starting Wednesday.