Why Can’t We Choose Who We Want to Hear About Dying? (Tribute to Andy Rooney on His Passing)

I just found out Andy Rooney passed away Friday night of complications following minor surgery (Associated Press). It’s the second public figure I’ve always enjoyed hearing about who has passed away within a month. The other was Steve Jobs. Somewhere in those thoughts came this idea I’d try to write something related and relevant to the topic, in a tone and from a perspective Andy might have taken. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.

There are now seven billion people in the world. Unfortunately, at some point, they all have to die. Well, it’s not all unfortunate. In fact, it’s not unfortunate at all in many cases. I was just trying to be sympathetic about a sensitive matter. That’s what happens when you get old. Your heart softens.

I generally don’t mind people dying, though that doesn’t mean I don’t care. It’s very disturbing when it’s someone you knew. And it’s inconvenient when it’s someone, someone you know, knew. But I don’t know enough friends and relatives among the seven billion to say I generally mind when someone dies. What I do mind, though, is that I have to hear about all these deaths of people I don’t care about, or even know!

With the extent of traditional and social media these days, we all know more of people than ever before. More people than ever before are also regarded as being “important” or “newsworthy” that should they die, media feels it has to cover their deaths. As long as this continues, we’ll all have to hear about it.

But I don’t want to hear about it!

I only want to hear about deaths of people who matter to me, like Steve Jobs’ death last month. Yet, I have to hear about the death of at least one person every day I turn on the news. Can’t technology somehow help me filter out news of deaths I don’t care about? Can’t it try to predict that? It predicts just about everything else about you and I, from ads on what we might like to who we might want to date.

Why can’t it predict who I might want to hear about dying, and who can go to Hell for all I don’t care?

Well, I had enough of this yesterday that I took action into my own hands. I was watching CNN, I mean CBS, when I saw a story about some Columbian Cringo named Alfonso Cano being killed. This is a terrorist, and he’s getting all this attention?

I don’t care if he was head of some FARC group. FARC him! I bet most people in the world don’t even know who he is, so why would they care to know? Unfortunately, I couldn’t kill anyone else more people would care about to know of their passing to displace his, so I decided to die myself. I bet more people would care to know that I had died.

Judging by the readership on the many sites carrying the story of my passing, I was right, which will help me rest in peace. I just hope other prominent people the world cares about won’t have to decide to die themselves to remove stories of meaningless deaths until a death story filter can be invented.

By the way, Steve, can we do coffee in iHeaven as soon as I get the paperwork done with Saint Peter here? I see they don’t have an App for that yet.

Rest in peace, Andy. You will be dearly missed the world over.

If you have enjoyed Andy’s 60 minutes commentary from time to time, but didn’t have the chance to hear many or most of them, you can find the best of them in Andy Rooney: 60 Years of Wisdom and Wit. You can get more of Andy Rooney through his responses to readers’ letters which were not broadcast in Sincerely, Andy Rooney. Both are fabulous reads I highly recommend!

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