Happy Birthday? Andy Doesn't Think So!

<b>Andy Rooney</b> Thinks Birthdays Are For Kids

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

If I seem a little down, it's because I had a birthday recently. Who ever decided "Happy Birthday!" was a good thing to say to someone who just got a year older? Happy birthday is for kids. A birthday doesn't do anything for the person having it, except remind him or her that he's just one year closer to the end of it all. If you're 49, why should turning 50 be an occasion for joy or celebration?

I think of being old a lot. There are so many things that remind me of it. For instance:

  • Trying to get back on my feet after being down on my back reconnecting a loose wire behind the television set reminds me that I can't do a lot of things I used to do easily.
  • Preferring to go to bed at 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve to watching people make fools of themselves on television in Times Square.
  • Having no interest whatsoever in seeing the movie "King Kong."
  • Looking in the bathroom mirror when I first get up.
  • Looking in the bathroom mirror just before I go to bed.
  • Looking in any mirror any time reminds me of how old I am.
  • Looking through a dresser drawer and coming across a watch I wore for 20 years that had to be wound every day.
  • Flipping the pages in my telephone and address book and realizing how many names I should remove. I hate to take out Harry Reasoner.
  • Wearing the same shoes every day because they're comfortable, even if they look terrible, is a bad sign of age.
  • I realize I'm out of it when I go to the movies and am shocked at the repeated use of the four letter f-word. Younger people in the audience seem to accept it as normal conversation.

    You're over-the-hill if you wonder if your subscriptions to Boys Life, Colliers, Liberty and The Saturday Evening Post have run out.

    You're no Spring chicken if you can remember when your father had an Essex, a Packard, a Hupmobile, a Pierce Arrow, a Nash or a Kaiser-Frazer.

    You've got a few years if you slid downhill on wooden skis, a Flexible Flyer or rolled on skates that had four wheels.

    Not caring whether your socks match is a sign of your age.

    You're on the downhill side of life if you always need more light reading the newspaper, although sometimes the news is so bad you decide not to read it because you've seen it all before.

    Happy Birthday? I don't think so!

    By Andy Rooney