10/03/2011 at 07:00 AM EDT
After 33 years and 1,097 essays, Andy Rooney signed off 60 Minutes
for the last time Sunday night with a simple message to his loyal viewers who have tuned in week after week to listen to his words of wisdom.
If you see him out and about, just let him be. "Please, just let me eat my dinner," the veteran TV personality, 92, said as he signed off, as he discussed the setbacks of the fame he acquired on the show.
CBS announced last week
that Rooney was retiring from the news-magazine program, where he has read his self-penned essays on-camera since 1978.
"I wish I could do this forever," he said during Sunday's final essay. "I can't, though."
Although he's leaving the show, Rooney said he's not retiring from his job as a writer. And it's not just about the written word, he says.
"I probably haven't said anything here that you didn't already know or have already thought," he said. "That's what a writer does. A writer's job is to tell the truth."