I always wanted to be Andy Rooney.
When I was a kid, "60 Minutes" didn't usually interest me much. But the old guy sitting behind a desk grumbling about the checkout line at the grocery store caught my attention.
"They pay this guy to do this?" I would think -- much as you will soon be thinking the same thing about me.
Rooney, who made a long career out of grousing about just about everything each week on the CBS news show, died Friday, just a few weeks after capping the show for the final time at the age of 92.
I can clearly remember a video essay in which he was talking about how confused he was by the mishmash of clothes hangers in his wife's closet. "This one is straight and has clips. This one is curved and has hooks. This one is plastic without any hooks. This one is wire. And what about this one with all the swiveling things?" he would say.
It's a bit absurd, but every time I try to hang my pants on one of those clothes hangers with the spring-loaded clasps, I can hear Rooney saying, "And what am I supposed to do with this? Does it come with an instruction manual?"
So it was at a young age that I decided when I grew up, I wanted to be the old guy that complains about the child-proof aspirin bottle being too hard to open. People would refer to me as an old curmudgeon. I'd yell at them to get off my lawn, then go on complaining.
I'd gripe about bad drivers and the lack of customer service nowadays. I'd expound about the waste of time known as professional sports and the ridiculousness of "fantasy" sports leagues. I'd rattle on about daylight saving time, television newscasters that say "murder" when they really mean "homicide," and teenagers who go trick-or-treating.
I'd lecture about the cost of gas, the cost of an automobile, the cost of a candy bar and the cost of a college education. I'd moan about social media ruining our social skills, the kids these days, technology making us lazy and fast food restaurants that take too long to prepare an order.
Parents who mess up the school drop-off routine by dropping off where they aren't supposed to, dog owners who allow their mongrels to bark at all hours of the night, people who hang Christmas lights before Thanksgiving, smokers who throw cigarettes out their car windows, skinny people who think they're fat, people who eat food from the grocery store before paying for it, even people who whine too much would be worth a few minutes of on-air grumbling.
And, when the camera cuts away at the end of a long career of profound bellyaching, much like Andy Rooney, I would be able to say that I have no complaints.