Could you live Andy Rooney’s life?

by Bruce Kasanoff on October 3, 2011

What would it have felt like to be Andy Rooney, who last night delivered his last essay on 60 Minutes? Could you have come up with 1,097 things that irritated, annoyed, or perplexed you?

Can you imagine what it must have been like to have to find a new frustration every week? You, normal person, go to a restaurant to enjoy dinner. But Andy had to ask himself and others a series of trivial but intense questions throughout the experience:

  • Is there a reason the hostess walked me over to this table, instead of the larger one in the corner?
  • How do I know that the person who cooked my meal doesn’t have a hacking cough?
  • What’s the difference between broiled and grilled, and do they say grilled even when they know it was broiled?
  • Why do they call it marinara sauce, anyway?

Back home, your wife calls, “Honey, could you come up here for a minute?” and you start thinking:

  • Did I leave the cap off the toothpaste again?
  • What if she asks whether that green dress makes her posterior look big? I’m not good at lying.
  • Why can’t she ever walk downstairs to where I am sitting? Why do I always have to go up to her?
  • Was I right to marry Matilda?

You are constantly evaluating different options, struggling to refine your weekly piece into something worthy of the hallowed 60 Minutes moniker. While other people see that critical 20-page memo, you see the paper clip that holds it together. It’s not really a clip, more a piece of wire that’s been bent a few times. How many miles and miles of wire have they bent so far, say, in the 92 years you’ve been alive? Enough to go to Mars and back? Jupiter? What has happened to those 301 million miles of wire?

Critics deride your job, saying all you do is whine about minor annoyances, but they don’t understand the pressures of having to be critical week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Anyone can complain; you critique.

You are the Jerry Seinfeld of the Geritol set. If only you had thought to hire Julia Louis-Dreyfus, you’d be filthy stinking rich today, instead of merely very rich.

For that matter, why do people like that Seinfeld character, anyway? All he does is whine…

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