The Best of Andy Rooney

Everything's crowding in on me. Please step back and give the man some air. It isn't just too many people; it's too many things to do, too many possessions, too much equipment designed to make life easier, too many wires leading to too many electric appliances, too many relationships to maintain.

There are too many events, too many movies and too much television. There are too many books to read. The newspaper keeps coming. There's no time to sit down and stare out the window without feeling you ought to be doing something.

Thinking and reading are two of the things I put off doing because there's so much to do. Some days, I can stuff my day so full of going places and doing things that I can get from breakfast to bedtime without having had a single serious thought. And now I have to stay up until 11:30 to watch Letterman, too? Pardon me, but I don't think so.

Do I have any specific suggestions for opening up some free time in our lives? I do. I call for an "An Hour of Golden Silence" every night on television.

For one designated prime-time hour each evening, every channel would cease all programming. The hour could be 6 to 7, 7 to 8, 8 to 9, or 9 to 10, but there would be nothing on the tube. The screen would be blank. Children with nothing to watch might do their homework. We'd be forced to talk to each other, to read, to sit and think or go to bed.

One of the great thieves of time is advertising. Advertisers won't leave us alone. I don't want someone tugging at my sleeve all day saying, "Buy this, buy this." I sit down in my living room at night to read the paper. I'm thumbing through the ads to get to the news while someone on television is trying to get me to buy a new car and the phone rings. Would I be interested in buying life insurance or a magazine subscription?

I'm surprised the publishers of novels haven't sold advertising space on some of those blank pages they put at the beginning and the end of a book.

The telephone is a major time-consumer. Schools should teach courses in how to make phone calls brief. There would be one hour in every day when no one made any phone calls. Telephones could be programmed not to ring during that hour and a recording would say, "We are at home having a quiet time and don't want to talk to anyone."

We could get ourselves some free time if sporting events were not drawn out the way they are to provide more time for commercials. Every event takes too long. The baseball season, for instance, drags on forever. Let's get on with it and have the World Series. Now!

The football season is starting -- too early. There ought to be some open water between seasons. Baseball should finish by Labor Day and be illegal after the football season starts. We don't need two major sports fighting for our attention at the same time.

I think of myself as particularly busy but that's what everyone thinks. I have friends who've retired and one of the things they always say is, "I wondered how I was going to fill the time when I quit my job, but now I don't have time to do everything I want to do."

Someone told me about a relative of his who had to be institutionalized because he couldn't face the world. He kept pulling the blankets up over his head and refusing to get out of bed. He may be the sane one. We're crazy.

This classic Andy Rooney column was , originally published Sept. 3, 1993.)

The Best of Andy Rooney - Humor & Satire Classics

Humor & Funny Stories - We All Need to Carve Out Some Down Time | Andy Rooney

Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services