Andy Rooney

I picked up a book by Andy Rooney today. Andy has written several books, but he calls this one “Pieces of My Mind”. Andy writes as naturally as he speaks when delivering his celebrated “60 Minutes” rambles. Everybody loves Andy Rooney. His are subjects we can all identify with, for example, the mysteries of mismatched socks, and why we save all those worn-out appliances.

I picked up his book in Rossi’s Deli, where I order sandwiches for lunch. Rossi started a book exchange table, and the books are not going any faster than the Tuesday and Thursday BBQ hamburgers. He should scrap that expensive stainless steel barbecue monstrosity and use an old-fashioned charcoal pit like everybody used in the 1950’s. If you order a hamburger, you should borrow a book.

I’m also reading a book about the founding of our country, “The Creation of the American Republic”. It is much harder to read than Andy’s book. I like a book that you can safely put down for a minute. When you return from the kitchen, you should be able to find where you left off . I do not like re-reading the same complicated sentence three times to see if it is the last one I had read before. Andy’s book also comes with a jacket. I know the librarians tell you to NEVER use the jacket to bookmark a book. I do it because we have privacy in our home. At home, I suppose, I feel secure from the prying, all-seeing eyes of the librarians.

I can’t relate to many of the reasons the colonists rebelled against King what’s-his-name. They had to quarter the King’s soldiers in private homes, for example. Today, you hardly ever hear of that. Another example was the Stamp Act. I read that page twice, and it never explained exactly what the Stamp Act did. When you go to Safeway for a pound of ground chuck, you certainly never have to buy stamps. Unless I actually needed them, I wouldn’t like to do that either.

“The Creation of the American Republic” examines themes like why the colonists thought a bicameral legislature was safer than just a single house. It examines in uncomfortable detail the feelings of envy, jealousy and resentment the colonists had when confronted with the lordly ways of “real” European aristocrats. They should have had an Oprah or Dr. Phil to talk through these feelings.

Now, even I can relate to Andy’s themes. Things like insects, household gadgets, and homes that look lived-in, are universal and non-controversial. I have several power drills, and they all work, but I can identify with people who hate to part with a power drill just because it no longer works. People buy Andy’s books because everybody knows what Andy is talking about. His topics are non-threatening. You can read a passage out loud and get laughs. You can’t read a passage from my writing and get laughs — who wants to hear what’s wrong with this country and why most of it’s your fault?

You can’t buy my writing, because it’s already free on the world wide web. What you can do, though, is bookmark it — in your browser. What I hate, though, is all those dreadful little bookmarks in the “Favorites” folder. Organizing them is harder than mating socks. Somebody ought to invent a book jacket flyleaf that can be tucked in between two bookmarks.

Now that would be a remarkable invention.

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