84 plus? Funny thing, I don't feel my age-that is, mentally.Physically there has been a noticeable "slowdown."

Even so, I still cut my grass, clean the den and help around the house just as effectively as I ever did. OK, so I take five or 10 minute breaks now and then. That's to be expected, isn't it? Isn't it?

Intellectually, I figure this old brain still has the faculty of thinking, reasoning and applying knowledge. So far, that's quite acceptable. I still put out a column every week for the six Berks-Mont newspapers. (Plus my national scuttlebutt newspaper articles and cartoon contributions.)

Writing weekly columns and magazine articles at 84 assumes some risks. There are so many ways to make a darn fool of myself. If I unintentionally deviate from what is correct, everyone can read it-and reread it.

I don't make mistakes on purpose, but with my having only mediocre talent and range of ability, fumbles and stumbles are bound to happen. I blame it on the fact that I have a dumb computer.

It's probably got something to do with aging, because I can't think of any other good reason for all the dumb thoughts that come into my mind at all times of the day. I like to converse with myself.

I am pretty much a broad minded old guy, but it's just possible some of my readers may think my ideas about truthfulness are as outdated as I am.

I figure that I am an enlightened person. I base my life on facts. I dislike anything imaginary, impractical or theoretical. I am hard-boiled about it. Is it so wrong to try for the comic effect or remark? I got just the "gag" for those who criticize my shortcomings and paltry skills.

The difference between a good column and a bad column is: a nice nap. Now you can see how much fun can be had with "limited ability."

At my age, I am no longer subject to any great expansion or development, having long since reached maximum development of form. In other words: What you see is what you get!

The great need to write and draw cartoons is inborn. Being a bit versatile, I tend to fluctuate between the two pursuits in an attempt to broach something digestible for my readers.

Sticking to the absolute, indisputable truth doesn't come easy. I will sometimes hem and haw with such doggedness and pluck that I finally manage to conquer my inabilities.

Eventually it's a case of "Hang in there Charlie, let it flow-see what happens!" If I fail, it's not from a lack of applying myself. Success covers a lot of blunders. Truth, success and failure are three things difficult to manipulate.

I try not to lose touch with veracity and to be perceptive and aware of my limited abilities. I'm only as clever and witty as I can be-unfortunately.

I do hate to be misunderstood; it makes me freak out. Half the falsehoods about writers aren't true. If you agree to that, you'd lie about other things too. That's the truth, deal with it! I'm a man of few words-I just keep repeating them.

Sometimes my actions creep louder than my words, and I do on occasion become emotionally upset. No matter. I figure that I've done a fair to middlin' job of comprehending all the newfangled technical stuff out there.

I am now on my third computer. My first two became antiques in just a couple of years.

Finally, this old grudge gave in and got a second cell phone. I watched young people walking around malls, driving cars with the "cell-o-fone" (my word) glued to their ear drums. It looked so dumb to this antiquated guy.

I once drew a cartoon of a guy walking around with a cell phone in his ear and a $2 bottle of water to his mouth.

The caption? "His area code is H2O."

I figure a lot of us old vets were somewhat poor until we got eightyish or so. Then we got used to it. The only thing worse than being old and poor is being young and broke.

My attitude implies living to 100. My uncle lived to 99 plus-he owed it to mushrooms. He never ate any.

Charlie Adams Jr. can be reached by e-mail at LST281@aol.com.

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