Monday, November 7, 2011

Just let me eat

"If you do see me in a restaurant. Please, just let me eat my dinner."  That's how Andy Rooney signed off his last CBS 60 Minutes essay.

Some two decades ago, I was eating lunch with a client in the Top of the World restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center. Two tables away, I spotted a man who looked just like Andy Rooney. The signature wild eyebrows caught my eye.

Leaning across the table I whispered to my client, a New York native, "That looks like Andy Rooney."

"If you see someone in New York who looks just like someone, it probably is," he responded.

Though I traveled to New York regularly, I could not get used to the idea that you might see someone like Andy Rooney eating two tables over. Even though my career was public relations and I should have been watching anyway, Andy Rooney was the reason I turned to 60 Minutes. His commentaries were witty and edgy and exactly right.

I thought briefly about approaching him that day in New York - not to ask for an autograph, which now I know he never signed - but just to find out if he was who I thought he was. Now I'm especially glad I didn't. In tribute to a man whose words I enjoyed so much, I'm glad I got that right.

* Photo Google images

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