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Column for 11.9.11
Andy Rooney was a great writer. If I could think of a word greater than “great,” I would use it.
Andy Rooney could be funny, thought provoking, irritating, compassionate, and he was filled with common sense.
He was most famous for his commentaries on “60 Minutes,” where he would opine on anything from elevators to doctors to airports to politicians to restaurants to food to the news media or anything else that came to his mind
Andy Rooney died on Nov. 4. He was 92.
For many years Andy Rooney, who was born in Albany, NY and went to Colgate University in Hamilton, wrote a syndicated newspaper column. He wrote 15 books. I know that because all of them are on my bookshelf.
He was a reporter for Stars and Stripes during World War 2 and wrote about the war first hand. After the war he wrote for television, including for Arthur Godfrey.
I teach an annual class for people interested in writing. I use Andy Rooney’s work as an example of excellent writing.
I collect many things. One of the things I collect are quotes. I have thousands of quotes. A wonderful thing about quotes is that they are priceless but cost nothing to collect. Here in honor of the great Andy Rooney are a few quotes of his that I’ve saved:
- “I’ve learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.”
- “If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.”
- “Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”
- “Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.”
- “A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.”
- “I didn’t get old on purpose, it just happened. If you’re lucky, it could happen to you.”
- “Nothing in fine print is ever good news.”
- “The only people who say worse things about politicians that reporters do are other politicians.”
- “I’d like to be rich enough so I could throw soap away after the letters are worn off.”
- Good reporting is expensive and hard. The reason it’s so hard is that half the world is trying to hide the truth from the other half.”
- “It’s amazing how much money it costs to do not much of anything when you’re on vacation.”
- “I don’t do as many things I don’t like to do as I had to do when I was young.”
– “Great teachers are usually a little crazy.”
- “Just plain good teachers aren’t crazy at all. They know their business; they hold steadfastly to traditional values and try to impart them to children.”
- “Because the thought of warm weather is so appealing when it’s cold and the thought of cold weather is so nice when it’s hot, it’s difficult to decide which is preferable.”
- “At worst, memory is a sad reminder of what’s all over. At its best, it’s a guideline for a better future.”
And so Andy Rooney has passed on. The bad thing is that there will be no more new quotes or new books from Andy Rooney. The good thing is that he left a lot behind.