Andy and Me

How old is Andy Rooney, anyway? Doesn't it seem like he's always been old? Can you remember when Andy Rooney was young? I can't. I think he was born old.

I like to watch his colleagues on 60 Minutes. They all have that chiseled nobility of a mannequin in the window of an up-scale boutique. And their facial expressions are always perfect. As the interviewee answers their questions, the faces of the 60 Minutes correspondents register the appropriate reaction: awe, disbelief, wonder, righteous indignation, delight, curiosity, incredulity, bemusement, anger, puckishness or astonishment. I think their facial expressions are controlled by some pimply faced technician.

But Andy always looks like a cadaver that has been granted the gifts of speech and crankiness. And what about those eye brows? They remind me of wooly bears on Rogaine.

But, you know what really bothers me? The less young I become, the more I sound like Andy Rooney. Where does all this cantankerousness come from? I've been eating a lot of broccoli. Maybe broccoli brings out the inner curmudgeon. I think it does.

The thing that angers me most is sports on television. Watching football these days makes me long for Curt Gowdy, Paul Christman and the old American Football League.

Does it bother you that announcers in the 21st Century are never silent? It bothers me. I think Churchill would say something like, "Never have so few prattled so much about so little." I think these guys are paid by the word.

I don't like it when they insist on telling me the last play was, or the upcoming play will be, a key play. How many key plays can you have in a game? A number in the low single digits seems right. Or am I just being cranky?

And how did these guys get to know so much about momentum? Are they the high priests of the divine force that guides the progress of our sporting events? I think they must be. The announcers always know when momentum has switched sides. That process must be similar to the President moving from one side of the stadium to the other at halftime of the Army-Navy game. Does the President still go to the Army-Navy game? I don't know.

And another thing, I can hardly see the game through the maze of graphics. And you know what really irks me? The information in those graphics is all the stuff the announcers used to tell you. Now, they don't have time because they're yammering about momentum, or potentially big plays, or having dinner with this player or that player, or hyping the new series that will have its premiere right after the game and is guaranteed to appeal to those with the IQ and attention span of an amoeba.

Then there are all those lines they superimpose on the field. What are they for? The yellow one, the one that indicates where the first-down marker is, is OK, I think. Don't you? But I really wonder about the blue line. It marks the line of scrimmage. I never had any trouble finding the line of scrimmage. It's where the football is and where the linemen get down, stare at their opponents and chide them about halitosis. The players might swear a blue streak, but I don't think I need a blue streak to help me locate the line of scrimmage.

You know what else bothers me? The arrow that indicates which direction the team with the ball is supposed to be going. Do you have trouble divining which end zone a team is defending and which end zone it is attempting to reach? I don't think I do. Maybe the arrow is there to help the players who partied into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Bobby Layne used to do that a lot, but he never needed an arrow to help him find the correct end zone.

And one more thing. I don't think a little gray hair and an excess of bile makes a guy an Andy Rooney. Do you?

This appeared in the Star Beacon, October 10, 2007.


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