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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Have You Ever Wondered...

Yes I am supposed to be writing. I got the hardest part of it over with... the first 1000 words, destroying the blank page and tackling the emotion that inspired the fictionalized account i am telling. yes... it is still a novel. That said.. Oh and I owe you guys an update from the Teaser... i can not continue with writing those things without saying goodbye to someone.

For the majority of my 42 years, every week began with an hour of 60 Minutes. Much like a day without Paul Harvey felt incomplete, a week without Andy Rooney's segment seemed less than it could have been. He started many of his video essays with "Have you ever noticed...?" or "Have you ever wondered...?" Most of the time I did not notice.  Until I was 13 or 14 most of what he said was beyond my grasp simply because you have to have some experience with a thing to really be able to observe it. Until that time, what was most important to me was the question.

Have you ever noticed something about something? It was a commanding question. Andy Rooney told me to pay attention. He was not talking about the things that my teachers were. He was not telling me to pay attention to parents, siblings, homework and chores. He was telling me to pay attention to the world around me. Andy Rooney's question pointed out the need to observe, which dovetailed with the lessons that my grampa taught me about digging beyond the obvious.

Have you ever wondered this or that about something else? I was always in trouble for wondering. Wonder leads to asking questions. And if you are precocious enough you end up asking questions that make adults uncomfortable. So while most adults were telling me to be quiet and quit asking so many damned questions Andy Rooney was telling me it was okay to wonder.

So I kept wondering and questioning. And as I got older and understood more of his commentary, I felt more comfortable with the bigger picture of the world that I live in. Rooney's essays allowed me to have insightful conversations with the adults who found it charming that someone my age cared about something besides boys and barbies. In someways, Andy Rooney is also the foundation of my Geekdom.

Today, as we were talking about Rooney and his catch phrases, I realized just how much he is a part of my life. Not just the nostalgic parts of my youth. But that the act of wondering is still so much a part of who I am. I am sad that I will never hear that from his own voice without the assistance of YouTube. And it made me miss Peter Falk all over again.

I am getting to the age where there are few people that I idolized in my youth who are still around or likely will be for a long time. Every year there are new anchors and talk show moderators. But I can't feel connected to the Sanjay Guptas and Anderson Coopers because they were not around in my formative years. They were not a part of my household. Andy Rooney was as much family to me as any distant cousin that my dad called on for advice. Dad did not have many sources that he trusted to tell him what was the truth with the world. But he trusted 60 Minutes. And he trusted Andy Rooney to keep the marketing rake hells from manipulating him with all kinds of false hope in every color imaginable.

Cronkite and Rooney gone. Can Harvey be far behind? And there with local personality Johnny Williams, will be a graveyard of touchstones that will leave me more connected to my past than my present and future. Who in my aging process will there be left to trust? Who will wonder with me about the senseless and sensible? Who will keep me accountable to noticing things that humans take for granted? Who will remind me not to be a lemming and believe everything that someone says just because the message is presented in a pretty package?

1 comment:

  1. I never liked Andy Rooney much. Even before I realized he was one step to the right of Communism, I found him to be a blowhard.

    Paul Harvey, on the other hand, is someone I miss. Every time I took a road trip (and there have been many), I also made sure the radio was tuned in to hear his take on the news. When I discovered "The Rest of the Story" segments, I became an avid follower.

    But as far as missing people from my youth, the only ones who come to mind are Ronald Reagan and my dad.