By now you have heard Andy Rooney died. When he retired last month, I talked about the thousands of things he said on television.
But for me, his lasting achievement is his book, "My War," a memoir of his days as a combat correspondent during World War II.
"My War" by Andy Rooney (Public Affairs Books)
It is at once a coming-of-age story, an adventure, and most of all, a book of wisdom.
"Most of us," he wrote, "use only a portion of our brains as we live our lives at half-speed and on schedule - sleeping when we are not tired, eating when we are not hungry." But war, he wrote, changes all that, "causing people to do things they didn't know they could do."
Yet, he didn't go to war movies, he wrote, because he didn't consider war entertainment.
He described war for those who survive as an experience like no other, but he said, "I've tried to empty my brain of those memories by writing them down."
For all his eccentricities, Andy was a wise man whose work in the age of texting and thoughtless instant discourse reminds us that the English language is among our most precious assets, and properly used, one of the most powerful weapons in the American arsenal.
Andy, you were one of a kind.