|Photo by Stephenson Brown
"When I was in high school I had an English teacher who told me I was a good writer so I set out to become a writer myself," Rooney said, or wrote, he made it clear that he reads what he writes on TV. "I've made my living as a writer for seventy years now. It's been pretty good."
That's not a bad run as writer's gigs go. Only perhaps Studs Terkel outlasted him as a writer-broadcaster.
"A writers' job is to tell the truth," imparted Rooney, as he told the truth about his loathing of celebrity.
"I spent my first 50 years trying to become well known as a writer," Rooney offered. "And the next 30 trying to avoid being famous. I walk down the street now or go to a football game and people shout 'Hey Andy!' And I hate that."
I remember Andy Rooney's early 60 Minutes commentaries. The show was a regular Sunday night staple in our house coming as it did right after football and right before Carroll O'Connor stole my father's lines on "All in the Family."
Sometimes I liked what Rooney said, even agreed with him. Other times I wondered how such a schlub got on television.
I agreed with much of what he said in last night's final word, however, especially about writing.
I have always been a writer -- it's all I've really ever wanted to be. Sure, I do a lot of other things, always have, much of which I've stopped doing over the years. But I'll never stop writing. It's who I am. I'm a writer.
And, as Andy Rooney wrote and read into the camera last night, "Writers don't retire and I'll always be a writer."
For those of you who never saw Andy Rooney in action or want to relive some of his classic commentaries, here's a link to "The Best of Andy Rooney" courtesy of CBS.
And one final note to Jeff Fager, if you're reading this and you're looking for a skeptic to take Mr. Rooney's place, give me a call.