I have waited a while to comment on the passing of Andy Rooney. It has little to do with any other pressing matters and everything to do with my ambivalent feelings toward the man's impact on popular culture. Not the man himself. We should all devote ourselves to our career and family the way he was able to, and his devotion to both are examples to us all. Married to the same woman for sixty-two years, until death did part them, he made his last appearance on "Sixty Minutes" just three weeks before he died at the age of ninety-two.
So what is my beef with Andy Rooney? It probably has something to do with the way he was able to forge a life's work out of the mundane. Missing socks and other tiny elements of our modern life never escaped his ridicule: "I don't like food that's too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture I'd buy a painting." So much of what he wrote and reported from his cramped office each Sunday evening was a complaint: "The dullest Olympic sport is curling, whatever 'curling' means." He was the quintessential grumpy old man, inviting us all to listen to one last harangue before he told us to get off of his lawn.
And I will miss him. Not because I agreed with everything that he had to say, but because he is probably as responsible as anyone for the words you are reading here. Andy Rooney may have been the alchemist behind Short-Attention-Span-Theatre. A few minutes with Andy Rooney was not unlike a few paragraphs with Dave. And maybe in another forty years, I'll feel comfortable with that comparison.