The other night I noticed Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair in front of a bunch of clapping old white people. Former GOP VP nominee Dan Quayle once surmised “…a mind is a terrible thing to lose”; couldn’t help but wonder if Dan was passing through Tampa last week.
Andy Rooney had a great mind right up until the day he passed last November at the age of 92. Rooney has always been an inspiration and hopefully, I’ll follow his aging gracefully (for a Caucasian) example. I’ve also discovered muting televised political conventions can’t hurt.
I had the privilege of conducting a virtual interview with Rooney on the eve of the 2008 Presidential Election; thought it might be worth a trip down memory lane. Especially if I used an inflammatory title to get things rollin’.
Jack Von Rooney (2008)
So I’ve once again managed connecting with CBS curmudgeon extraordinaire, Mr. Andy Rooney. Andy virtually called up Temple City Dental Care (TCDC) last week and asked for a post Election Day/ post USC loss to The Fighting Beavers apocalypse (ugh) interview. Like I’ve shared here before, Andy’s always been a no-nonsense hero of mine; and he still asks a ton of open-ended questions. Rooney would still like to know why Chihuahuas, Sean Penn, and former smokers have such huge chips on their shoulders; he also wonders why if you’re using something called the modified Von Bass technique…you’re just brushing your teeth.
As always, the brief interview transpired right in front of El Pollo Loco and things went well in the absence of senior citizen discount Nazi, La Polla Loca (Rooney knows I only have to outrun him, not Ms. Loca.)
The opinions expressed in the interview in no way reflect those held by CBS, the BCS, TCDC…or God forbid, the dreaded Temple City Tribune.
“Andy, welcome back to Temple City; it’s really exciting having you back in town. Too bad you missed our election; we actually had a tie for third place and instead of recounting the 42 votes in question, the two bronze medalists just flipped a coin!”
“Von Bulow, are you gonna ask me a question or what?
“Okay Andy, I’m really interested in hearing your take on the election. I know you’ve seen it all: the Great Depression, World War II and everything since. But did you ever dream you’d possibly see President-elect Obama?”
“Young Jack, I think this election might be one of the most pivotal this country has had; right in there with Lincoln’s and FDR’s in ‘32. And no, I wasn’t around covering the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858.”
“No need to get snippy Roonster; but what about Mike Wallace? I bet he was around; wonder if Stephen A. really had that fluffy Mohawk-doo that shows up on the Internet? But really Andy, what’s your take?”
“Dr. V, this election has moved me. When I was born in 1919, my life expectancy was less than age 55. I’m very grateful to still be around and not only witness history, but actually get paid to write and talk about it.”
“Jackson, I understand you’re still the foremost elite athlete/scribe/DDS in the San Gabriel valley, may I ask you a question? What about health care?”
“Andy, I’ll limit my response to dentistry. Keep your dental health preventive, use your dental benefits in ’08 or lose ‘em, and look for interest-free deals on stuff you’ve always wanted. But now Andrew, your thoughts?”
“JVB, 47 million folks without health insurance and millions more without enough of it is a disgrace. The cost of health insurance to employers for employees really calls for commitment and sacrifice, sometimes at risk to the business itself. Leaving the transformation of the system to the private sector alone is like putting the Crips, the mayor of Bell, California or Wall Street mortgage bankers in charge of collecting property taxes. The government needs to be responsible and play a role.”
“Andy, and what about future Republican leadership; do you think they’ll ever get beyond supply side economics, William Jennings Bryan science, and a sea of old white faces? Isn't time for some new ideas? times are challenging and it looks like they're gonna stay that way for a while.”
“Dr. V, between you and me, sometimes I think they’d rather talk to a chair.”
“Just two more questions for you Andrew: are those your real eyebrows and have you ever tried teeth whitening?”
“Look Von Bulow, I’m 89 years old; leave me alone. Bite me Molar Jockey!”