Andy's Geography Lesson

Should Adults Be Made To Go Back To School?

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

I keep thinking I ought to go back to school. So much of what I learned is out of date now. Kids have to go to school when they're five until they're 17. Maybe adults should be made to go back to school for one month every five years.

If you didn't pass, you'd lose your driver's license, something like that. Maybe they'd take away your television set until you passed.

I studied geography for about four years in school. I learned the names of the capital of every one of the 48 states. I've heard recently that there are more than 48 now so I need to go back to school to learn what the two new capitals are called.

I was looking through my atlas the other day. When I was in school we learned about France, Italy, Germany, Spain, England and Russia, but I don't ever remember hearing any teacher mention Iran or Iraq. Now, they're all you do hear about.

I like the names "Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone" but I couldn't point to either one of them on a map.

"Swaziland". I don't know Swaziland and I don't think I'll be going there for a vacation anytime soon either. I read where the men in Swaziland die at an average age of 32. The women die at 34. The men are the lucky ones.

In Japan, the men live to be an average of 78 years. The women, 85.

Now, here's a surprising figure. In Iceland, the average life expectancy is listed as 78 years. That seems high. I remember the joke about someplace else though. Maybe living in Iceland just makes it seem that long.

I worry about how many people the Earth can hold. It seems almost full now. There are more than one billion people in India and one billion 300 million in China. That little extra 300 million is what we have here in the United States - or we're about to have, 300 million. It's ridiculous that we don't do something to prevent that happening. Or can't I say that on television?

Mexico has a total of 106 million people. A hundred million of them want to come here.

If I ever get to go back to school to learn some geography, while I'm there, I think I'll also take an arithmetic class so I can do my taxes and a history class so I'll remember who came first, Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan.
By Andy Rooney