“Savvy Investor Cleans Up in Things Market,” 2011
In 1979, Andy Rooney, veteran newsman and for more than thirty years resident curmudgeon at the CBS Sixty Minutes television show, wrote a piece for the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal describing how, nine years earlier and slightly heavier in the pocketbook for having cashed in a life insurance policy, he had made a series of purchases in preparation for retirement.
Here’s some of what Rooney bought and stored in the barn behind his country house:
- Two Volkswagen Bugs.
- Fifty cases of Jack Daniels.
- Ten pairs of shoes.
- An assortment of 250 light bulbs.
- Twenty-five toothbrushes.
- A new refrigerator, two washing machines, a dishwasher and a dryer.
- Five electric razors.
- One hundred ties and Brooks Brothers 100% all-cotton Oxford button-down shirts.
- Twelve pairs or Ray-Ban sunglasses.
- Four thousand gallons of unleaded gasoline.
For each item Rooney gloated over the different between their 1970 prices and their expected 1986 values.
It turned out, of course, that the whole thing was a fiction, which Rooney thanked the Journal for allowing on their editorial page that one time.
I got such a kick out of the piece that I sent it to Rooney at CBS and asked if he’s autograph it for me. I didn’t know at the time that Rooney is famous for not signing autographs.
A week later a letter arrived from CBS with the newspaper clipping I’d sent neatly folded up and signed:
“Sorry, I don’t sign autographs. Andy Rooney.”
[It was reported last week that barely two week after leaving Sixty Minutes Andy Rooney became seriously ill and at the time of this writing remains hospitalized.]