First, let me back up.
A little over a year ago, Trevor and I became addicted to The Amazing Race. Because nothing says "The Amazing Race is about to start" like Andy Rooney, we began to tune in, and at first we thought Andy was sort of delightful and harmless, like your great aunt's Shih Tzu that growls at everyone from its bed in the corner.
Or, better, like a third grader with amazing eyebrows. Take this, from Andy's 10/14/07 segment, titled "What's Your Favorite Season?"
Most of us have a favorite season of the year but if we had the same weather for all 12 months, even if it was the weather we like the best, I don't think anyone would like it.And that pretty much sums up Andy Rooney. Until, that is, he's being so stunningly cantankerous that I want to do something mean to him, like make him listen to the Ramones. Consider, if you will, Andy's segment "Andy Thinks About Money," in which Andy claims that a) he is not rich, and b) if he were rich, he wouldn't have to think up something to say each week.
The island of Jamaica is supposed to have some of the best weather in the world for 12 months of the year but you couldn't pay me to live in Jamaica. There's just so much beautiful warm weather I can take. I like a little of this but then I'd want a change.
I think if we had a vote, fall would probably be most people's favorite season. Some people who like fall call it autumn. I never use the word "autumn." It sounds pretentious.
Okay, well. Here is where I get grouchy, because a) Andy Rooney made $7700 a week in 1987, and b) his job consists of writing tiny segments that probably take less time to think up than they do to speak out loud.
I can think of a few good responses to all this Rooney-esque griping. First, I don't have to watch. True, but if you were at Christmas dinner, say, and your crazy uncle was about to go on his annual drunken, aimless tirade, would you be able to turn away? He is, for all the wrong reasons, a fascinating study. Second, Andy Rooney might just have enough fans to keep his implausible television existence going. Possibly. (And I guess, since we are usually watching TV at 6:57pm on Sundays, T and I are in that fan group, aren't we? Oops.)
I see two possibilities, ultimately: Either someone, somewhere is afraid to push Andy Rooney into retirement, or someone, somewhere thinks Andy Rooney's a damn fine writer. They're both miserable possibilities, in my opinion, and I'm not even sure which is worse--the one that condones complete passivity or the one that sets the bar so low an aphid couldn't crawl under it.
Oh, who am I kidding? I just wanted to make fun of Andy Rooney. I know he's old and has done some remarkable things in his life, but I just can't claim to be above this sort of thing. Assuming Rooney's salary hasn't changed since 1987, this man makes more money listing his favorite types of milk than I do in months, and he doesn't seem to have even one good suit to show for it, which might be the biggest insult of all.