Seeing as how I am one of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit targeting several Hollywood entities – studios, networks and talent agencies – for engaging in discriminatory practices against older writers, I’d have to be the worst sort of rat to suggest that it’s high time CBS sent Andy Rooney packing. So I won’t suggest they retire him because he’s old. Instead, I’ll suggest they give him his gold watch because he’s really stupid.

Clearly, in Rooney’s case, it isn’t a matter of age. His little screeds on “60 Minutes” have been boring and embarrassing for many years. Oddly enough, when I used to watch the show regularly, I didn’t notice it quite so much. I sort of got used to how truly awful he was. It’s sort of like living with a harmless, but nevertheless crazy, relative. When you’re around him all the time, you get used to his shenanigans. But go away for a while and then come back, and the fact that Uncle Sid shoves mashed potatoes in his ears will hit you like a ton of bricks.

So it is with Uncle Andy. Recently, after not having watched “60 Minutes” for a couple of months, I tuned in. By the time 8 p.m. finally rolled around, I found myself wondering if anyone at CBS is paying any attention to Rooney’s commentaries.

He began by admitting that he, whom we all know to be a millionaire, drives 20 miles into New Jersey to buy gas because their state tax is slightly lower than New York’s, and then wondered, as he chuckled, whether he was actually saving any money.

Bad enough, but it got worse. He went on to insist that the rest of us should all vow to drive 20 percent less in 2005, so that we wouldn’t have to make “a mess in Alaska.”

The real mess is obviously between Rooney’s ears.

Every single time this loon fills up his gas tank, he’s driving an extra 40 miles to save a few pennies, but the rest of us are supposed to stop driving to the supermarket?!

All of which only proves once again that there’s no self-righteous hypocrite like a wealthy, self-righteous, liberal hypocrite.

And to prove that this has absolutely nothing to do with age, when Andy Rooney, 85, is retired to pasture, I very much want him to take Lesley Stahl, a mere child of 63, along for company.

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