We have all heard the sad news of the passing of Andy Rooney, the highly regarded and honored contributor to the popular “60 Minutes” CBS-TV program. When I heard the news of his passing just a month following his reluctant forced retirement I remembered that he clearly indicated that he wanted to work forever.
I immediately remembered a similar incident that occurred many years ago when my Dad was forced to retire at age 78, because his employer, an architecture firm, could no longer acquire insurance for him on construction sites where he was their representative. Dad had retired at 65 after a 40 year career with Interlake Steel, and then worked for the next 13 years until forced into permanent retirement.
I vividly remember Dad telling me at that time that it was time for him to die, because he loved to work and he felt he was no longer of value. Tragically, Dad had no hobby, and he just sat in his chair and died a little with each passing day and passed away within a few years.
I think that is what happened to Andy Rooney, too. I am certainly glad that I was not the CBS executive who had to tell Andy that his services were no longer needed or desired, because I think it killed Andy just as it did my Dad. I think Andy and my Dad died of a broken heart, because they could no longer do the thing they loved best…work.
We all know stories of individuals who retired with the big going-away party and the commemorative watch, then die within a couple of days or weeks. Some of us just need to work and do not have other interests, and that is surely sad. Fortunately, I knew when it was time to retire, but I must admit that it took me sometime to adjust, because all of a sudden nobody asked my opinion or looked to me for my decision.
One day I was urged by my wife to start writing about my experiences and we created this blog. It is the best thing that I have ever done since retiring, because I now look forward each and everyday to get to my computer addressing a wide array of issues. The passage of time and the big-80 birthday have slowed my mobility, but the blog has been a blessing and a reason to look forward.
Like Andy, I have become somewhat of a curmudgeon in my old age, but I certainly do not consider myself to possess the writing talent Andy presented over such a long period of time. I was never a big fan, but I respected his talent and being fellow veterans we had something in common, and neither of us ever took ourselves too seriously.
I am saddened that Andy did not have the pleasure and satisfaction of many enjoyable years in his retirement, which the good Lord has blessed upon me. Andy set the bar very high as a wonderful journalist, family man, and he will be remembered and respected for standing firmly by his principals and serving his audience with honor and respect.
Andy was blessed with a great run in life during his 92 years. Certainly Andy is organizing his old colleagues up in heaven, and I bet there will be one hell of a good party. Thanks, Andy, may you rest in peace with the knowledge that you did it right.
For those of you who are retired or about to retire ‘GET A HOBBY’, because it could save your life.