It might have been expected that Andy would deliver one for the ages, an essay to end all essays. The final minutes with Andy Rooney on CBS’s 60 Minutes included a short interview that confirmed to us all what we already suspected: Andy is a firmly-encrusted curmudgeon.
When a certain age is reached, male humans generally follow one of two personality paths: that earnest, good-natured, helping-hand homebody – or the dour-faced grumbler. Once the choice is made, it is pretty well set in stone. There is no going back to the old ways.
60 Minutes showed pictures of Andy Rooney as a younger man, and his expression made it clear that he had not yet reached the juncture in the life-road. In the pictures, he might have been contemplating telling a joke. In fact, one of the video clips showed one of his jokes being used by the show’s host. Rooney was a behind the scenes writer before going on-camera with his musings.
His interview made it clear that he was entrenched in his decision. Admissions included the fact that he did not answer letters mailed to him, he refused to sign autographs, and he called the people involved in those activities “idiots.” He made no excuses for himself, and even in offering a semi-serious apology for his crassness there was a glimmer of pride in his crusty dourness.
He’ll always be a writer, he said, and maybe he will. At age 92, it’s a fairly low bar to jump.
That may be a bit crass to say, but I suspect that’s the way Rooney would put it.