Andy Rooney died today. He was 92. He lived a long and fruitful life. He probably did just about everything he had hoped to do with his life. Okay, he probably didn't actually do all of it. Most of us never get to do everything we hope to before our time comes. Even if we live to be 92, we still have unfulfilled goals and desires. I know this: If they parody you on SNL or a special they do, you have really got the worlds attention.
I would venture to say that anyone over 40 knows who Andy Rooney is. I would even venture to say that most over 30 and a good portion over 20 also know of him.
I have some visions and images when I think of Andy Rooney.
Being a child of the 70s, I think of 60 minutes, of course. But to me that also meant Sunday Football, as 60 Minutes always started right after football. Sometimes that meant at 7pm sharp. Other times that meant whenever the game was over.
When I think Andy Rooney I always also think of a ticking clock. That was the signature of 60 Minutes and was always the lead in and out to his segment.
Most of all, I think of Andy Rooney as someone who told it like it was. In his case, telling it like it was meant telling it like he thought it was, maybe not actually how it was. Andy Rooney always spoke his mind. Whether he was actually right about that didn't matter. I respect someone who will do that.I am sort of like that, as most of you know.
While most of you know of Andy Rooney, I would venture to say that virtually none of you know who Stan Bergstien was. He also died this week at the age of 87.
To say that Rooney and Bergstien were very similar is an understatement. Bergstien was to Harness Racing what Rooney was to television.
A character. Someone who knew the most important people. Who did many jobs in the industry he was in. An icon to those who followed it. In many ways Bergstien was even larger of a icon than Rooney was. There is not one harness racing person who does not know who he is. He is being remembered as a once in a lifetime character who cannot be replaced.
I suspect Rooney is the same. In another time those types came through the ranks and became what they were over a long period of time until they were both relevant and iconic. That was another time. In this time, we can only remember them and know they likely will never be duplicated. That is part of their legacy.