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Missing Andy Rooney

Posted on October 04, 2011 @ 4:25 PM in Uncategorized

There are two kinds of people in this world I adore. Wordsmiths and curmudgeons.

Have you ever noticed they’re often one and the same?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with several over the years. The best copywriter I ever knew wore a black visor, smoked a cigar constantly and barked at anyone who darkened his doorstep.

He was so cantankerous, he had to be isolated from the rest of us in a windowless closet of an office which suited him just fine, thank you.

It took me three years to discover that he had a sense of humour, a heart of gold and an amazing marriage of many, many years. He was kind, romantic and fun-loving. He could even smile in those rare moments he wasn’t clenching that stogie in his teeth.

Who knew? Perhaps the biggest surprise was that he liked me, the rookie know-nothing writer. All of his colleagues thought he hated everyone equally. Me included.

It was just his way of focusing on his work. Stan didn’t let office politics or socializing distract him from writing the best gosh-darned catalogue copy in the industry. He specialized in writing about tires.

While the rest of us would have been bored to tears extolling the virtues of Kevlar-belted all-season radials, he persuaded with passion.

Andy Rooney just retired from 60 Minutes. And he’s so much like Stan I could hug him. I love their sense of everyday absurdity and the words they find to express it.

Here are some memorable slice-of-life thoughts that Andy Rooney pounded out on his clackety typewriter.

“Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize. For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”, here’s an update for you. Nowadays 80%of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!”

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.”

“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

“Did you ever hear one of those corny, positive messages on someone’s answering machine? ‘Hi, it’s a great day and I’m out enjoying it right now. I hope you are too. The thought for the day is share the love. Beep.’ ‘Uh, yeah, this is the VD clinic… speaking of being positive, your test is back. Stop sharing the love.”

“I’ve learned that, when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.”

“I’ve learned that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.”

“Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done.”

“If you smile when you are alone you really mean it.”

“The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.”

“Writers don’t often say anything that readers don’t already know, unless its a news story. A writer’s greatest pleasure is revealing to people things they knew but did not know they knew. Or did not realize everyone else knew, too. This produces a warm sense of fellow feeling and is the best a writer can do.”

“I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”

“Nothing in fine print is ever good news.”

“I’m always on the lookout for something good about people. Often months go by.”

“The trouble with dictionaries is, they tell you more about words than you want to know without answering the question you have.”

“I am not retiring. Writers don’t retire. Writers never stop writing.”

You’ll never know how happy I am to hear that, Andy. I miss you already but thank you for everything.

You too, Stan, wherever you are.

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2 Responses to Missing Andy Rooney

  1. mark says:

    Interesting that people that often use callous words, we tend to judge as hard hearted. There is a saying that there are three kinds of people in life: those who haven’t heard, those who have heard, and those that need to hear it again! We, like a chunk of coal, may at one time or another have appeared unattractive through our choice of words, however over time and lots of reflection, our heart begins to twinkle like a diamond, as we realize that it wasn’t so much what we said, but how we said it. I think as our discerning, or listening increases, the power and value of the words we are listening to, increases as well, no matter how callous it may sound. God bless Stan and Andy!