Writers Don’t Retire
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
Andy Rooney made his final (regular) appearance on “60 Minutes” tonight. It was one of many times I tuned-in to this icon over the past 25 years. (Yes, 25 years. Whether I liked it or not, “60 Minutes” was usually on our family’s downstairs TV while I was growing up.) Listening to Rooney’s commentaries through the years, coupled with the fact that I walked by him once when I lived in Manhattan*, I felt strangely sentimental about watching his final segment this evening.
I watched a few interviews with and features about Rooney, the 92 year-old writer, in the days leading up to his final broadcast. However, nothing prepared me for Rooney’s “final essay,” which began by telling viewers about one of his teachers who inspired him to become a writer. He went on to talk about his life as a writer and how writing led him to TV. He has led a fascinating life as a writer (not as a reporter, as some people might’ve thought he was) writing about everything from the battles of World War II to politics to an essay on doors (yes, doors!).
It might be hard to sell your students on Andy Rooney since he’s of a much older generation. However, he’s a writer. Your students are writers. They share something in common. Consider sharing Rooney’s final commentary on “60 Minutes” with your students. And, if they connect to him, in all of his curmudgeonly glory, you might want to share “The Best of Andy Rooney” with them as well. After all, Rooney shared his writing about everyday things with a wide audience every week.
*= For the record, I wasn’t one of those people who bothered Rooney for an autograph. Lucky for me, since I realized, after watching his interview with Morley Safer tonight, that he wouldn’t have given it to me anyway.