It's unfortunate that just one month after I wrote about Andy Rooney's departure from 60 Minutes, I would be writing about his death. Anytime I look back at this, I begin to remember that Andy Rooney had no intentions of retiring from contributing his "Few Minute" segments that he has been doing since 1978. However, he began to contribute fewer segments during this year and ultimately decided to call it a career just last month. It turned out that during the last few weeks of his life, he was having surgery. He never recovered from the surgery and died yesterday at the age of 92. Andy Rooney must have known that his days were numbered, because him and retirement didn't really make for a pairing that made sense.
Andy Rooney was born in 1919 and served in World War II. He had always been into journalism and began his career with CBS in 1949. His segment, "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" began as an occasional segment in 1978, but ultimately became a weekly segment by the next season. For 1,097 segments, he discussed what ever happened to be on his mind. Whether it was his opinion about the Winter Olympics, his thoughts about going into Iraq, or other types of current events, or simply his thoughts about the quality of milk, gifts received by fans, or the names of current politicians, Andy Rooney was just good at giving his opinion in a way that the everyday viewer could connect to.
I had written a lot of similar things just last month about how Andy Rooney made a name for himself and how he is one of my writing influences, but I have him to thank for a lot of things having to do with my writing style, how I express my opinion, and the foundation for my column. When I decided that I wanted to do a column/editorial for my high school newsletter, this was during a time where I only wrote about the school tournaments. I had gone back and forth about whether or not I wanted to express my opinion about random things, but then I decided to jump on the opportunity. When I thought about how I wanted to deliver my message, I wanted to do it in an Andy Rooney-like kind of way, where I would end each newsletter with my thoughts about what ever happened to be on my mind for that month.
Of course, there is nobody like Andy Rooney and there will never be anyone like Andy Rooney. It will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for anybody to do what he did. I as a writer simply look up to him as a role model and an influence to the columnist side of journalism. I, like millions of others, will most definitely miss Andy Rooney's segments and miss Rooney himself contributing anything he might believe. It will be incredibly different without him in that world of exercising the first amendment to its full extent.