Saturday, November 5, 2011

Andy Rooney: "Writers don't retire. And I'll always be a writer."

Hearing that Andy Rooney died was like hearing that a great uncle who I didn't see much anymore but still adored was gone.

My dad was a longtime journalist and he'll be a news junkie for life. When I was a kid, I remember sighing every time he turned the TV to the news. Hey, I later ended up becoming a journalist, but I was still a kid at the time. With 60 Minutes, it was a little different. Though it was, well 60 minutes long, Andy Rooney was the reward we got at the end. Perhaps I simply recognized good story-telling.

Rooney's blunt, crusty manner reminded me of other men of his generation who were in my life, particularly my grandfather. And his articulate rants reminded me of one important man not of his generation, my old man. I could be staring off into space, or playing quietly for most of the show, but when Rooney appeared on the screen, my eyes and ears were on him. Riveted.

And the same as when that great uncle dies, I feel regret. Regret that I hadn't watched Rooney recently and regret that I hadn't seen his final sign-off. Watching it online tonight, I was intrigued that he considered himself a writer first and foremost. Not a commentator, and certainly not a TV personality, but a writer.

"A writer's job is to tell the truth. I believe that if all the truth were known about everything in the world, it would be a better place to live," said Rooney.

Well said, Mr. Rooney. Farewell and thank you for the stories.

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