Andy Rooney has the best job in TV journalism.
For 16 years he has claimed a regular spot on CBS' "60 Minutes," wrapping up the weekly news show with a brief insight or observation on the topic of his choice.
For most journalists, especially those who love editorial writing, Rooney's is the job of their dreams. Airing opinions and complaints and potential solutions isn't considered the most difficult or most envied part of his job. It's the notoriety, the instant credibility, which inevitably produces that most coveted element: an audience.
The rest of us editorialists write and hope that someday we'll be at the right place at the right time, that opportunity's welcome knock will transform our work from "something somebody once said" into "something Stefanie Boyd once said."
So what is Andy Rooney doing with his moments of attention from millions of viewers? Lately, not much.
About three weeks ago he did a piece about all of the broken appliances in his house. He pulled them out one by one and explained exactly why they no longer work. I suppose that approaches interesting.
The following week, Rooney's piece addressed peoples' mannerisms and gestures while talking on the telephone. During footage of several different phone conversations, he pointed out people's wild hand gestures and animated facial expressions. He concluded the segment by noting how silly we all look and added a few words of approval for the good old-fashioned letter.
And finally last week, Rooney complained about all of the different sized envelopes he receives in the mail. He also disapproved of the many different printed instructions for how to open an envelope and for how and where to place a stamp. Uniformity of incoming mail seemed to be the newsworthy theme.
Rooney has produced some interesting, insightful pieces in the past, as I'm sure he will do again. Perhaps I'm only jealous that he's been afforded a privilege few journalists enjoy: being able to fall back on his name, being carried by the simple fact that he's Andy Rooney.