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Andy Rooney: A repeat goodbye

If Sunday's farewell to Andy Rooney looked a bit familiar, that's probably because it was familiar -- about just four weeks familiar. "60 Minutes" last night aired largely intact the farewell piece it prepared for him Oct. 2 when he retired. 

Yes, this was like getting the same gold watch twice.

So what gives? "60" didn't have time to put together a fresh tribute? Didn't want to bother with one? Neither -- I'm reliably told. (And come on! Show had at least two weeks to put together something, since his hospitalization.)

Son Brian Rooney was just on "The Early Show," and he didn't look too steamed and in fact told the show that "I hope he's remembered as a writer..." 

Which is exactly how Andy probably hopes he's remembered. In fact, his family apparently asked that "60" repeat the original piece -- that they didn't want one of those long glowing testimonials where others talk about him, and that he'd be happier with a few last words of his own. 

If true, makes total sense to me: Rooney was devoid of sentimentality, and devoid of sentimentality when it came to himself as well. That Morley Safer piece last night did a good job -- twice now -- of explaining Rooney's TV legacy even if it didn't do much of one for his writing legacy. But as Andy knows, writers' legacies are forged over the passage of time: A few glowing words from former colleagues won't do much to burnish that. 

I do think his excellent 1995 memoir, "My War," will in fact stand the test of time; as Bob Schieffer said Sunday, that will be his lasting legacy. 


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