To Morley Safer and the Gang,
It’s come to my attention that national treasure Andy Rooney is retiring from your fine program. I understand that you’re all reeling from the shock and the pain, but I’d like to suggest a replacement — me — that could move right in to the slot with as little disruption as possible. After all, with a cast as old as yours sudden movements and drastic changes could lead to one or more of you going all Grandpa Simpson during a show and no one wants that.
Sure, the suits at CBS might be considering shaking things up, toying with the format. But the suits at CBS aren’t to be trusted when it comes to what the people want. Two words for you: Katie Couric. (Sorry Katie, but the ratings don’t lie.) There is a vast demographic out there who tuned into 60 Minutes every week only to see the last couple of minutes of Andy Rooney complaining about something. They’re likely the same people who tune into CBS Sunday Morning for the closing shot of a spring river flowing through melting snow or elk bellowing in the woods or bison grazing on the plains (but not to see geese flocking, ok, CBS? Because geese are not only gross, they’re terrorists and should only be shown on TV in the context of cooking shows).
You don’t want to lose this audience. Heck, you’re a news show on network TV, you don’t want to lose any people, and we all know you’re going to start losing lots of your audience to the great broadcaster in the sky. But if it will make the network executives feel any better, I’m under 40, so that will at least bring the average age of the cast closer to 65 than 100.
I’m not ashamed to share my first memory of Andy. I was at my grandmother’s house in Opelousas, Louisiana, and Andy was complaining about there being too much cotton stuffed into pill bottles. I remember thinking, “Wow, that’s exactly what I’m thinking! This man is a genius. I hope next week he talks about the ratio of air to potato chips in potato-chip bags.” (And let me ask you this. When was the last time you saw a ball of cotton stuffed into a pill bottle?)
Of course, none of the above qualifies me for the job. But rest assured I am more than qualified to fill Andy’s shoes — and it’s not just because I’ve already sprouted a couple of unruly eyebrows that portend great bushiness in future years. No, what qualifies me for the job is that, like Andy, I do believe there are both stupid people and stupid questions. And, more important, there are lots of things that I just don’t like. Lots and lots of things. In fact, I could probably come in next Monday and we could shoot three years worth of segments in one day.
Here is a list. It is far from exhaustive.
- Young people
- Mommy Bloggers
- Daddy Bloggers
- The telephone
- Towels that turn musty after only one use
- Environmentally friendly cleaning products
- People who ask me to sign petitions to save independent book stores
- People who ask me to sign petitions to save the children
- People who ask me to sign petitions
- Grown white men who complain about their portrayal in television commercials
- Most television commercials
- Smooth jazz
- Social-media experts
- Self-help experts
- Motivational speakers
- Adults who use baby wipes
- Morning “news” programs
- Cable “news” programs
- People who write letters to the editor of People magazine
- Americans obsessed with the royal family
- Cajun food in New York
- Wine snobs
- Beer snobs
- Book snobs
- People who say barbecue when they really mean grilling
- People who like The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo series
- Jonathan Franzen
- Jared from Subway
- All these “housewives” of reality TV
- The lack of new comic strips in newspapers
- Those single-serve K-cup coffee things
- Tom Brady
I could go on, but in the interest of time, I’ll stop.
Of course, there are a few things that are off limits. Included among these are:
- That show “Awkward” on MTV
- Popeyes Fried Chicken (though the one on Court Street in Brooklyn always goes out of its way to turn me into an ex-customer with its abysmal customer service).
- Jessie J
- Excessive drinking
- Audrey Tautou
- Mark Twain
There may be more on that list, but we’ll cross such bridges when we come to them.
In closing, I think I’d be the perfect fit for the job. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.