It occurs to me that it was, after all, more or less necessary to end the Patterson saga with Jim in declining health. It wouldn't be realistic to have a man in his mid-eighties without some sort of health concern that would make him think that each holiday might be his last. The problem I have is Lynn's questionable choice of the infirmity she assigned him. As you all know, the general reaction to his stroke may be summed up by the phrase "being a gratuitous jerk". Aside from April, none of the Pattersons have shown any sign that they care what happens to him. This is because they falsely believe that the man they knew is gone. There are many perils facing the elderly that could raise the chances of sudden death that leave him with the ability to communicate. When you consider that Elly spent years complaining about Jim's smoking, we could have reasonably expected to have seen a storyline based of his being diagnosed with emphysema. That would make the Pattersons and Iris look a lot less foolish. Iris, for instance, would only have to learn how to monitor and maintain his oxygen tank. Watching her master that would cretainly make her look a lot smarter than she does now, what with her inability to tell for sure what he wants. A Mike and Elly who tell him to save his breath for himself would look way more charitable than the goof who asked if Jim was crazy or the daughter who treats him like a simpleton. All we'd need is the odd couple of strips showing him trundling along and his story could then write itself. That way, he wouldn't have to suffer from over-exposure as do Liz, Anthony and Mike.