A Raw Deal
So what's it like being a Senior Citizen in today's unenlightened western society? How about bleak? After all, you've spent a lifetime working, paying taxes, playing by the rules. And now, just when your investment should start paying dividends, you're turfed out.....banished. Exiled to geriatric ghettos for the grey.
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The English version was produced for New Zealand, the UK, Canada and the Aussies. An American version was also produced to reflect the differences in spelling and can be purchased directly from AMAZON.
The Senior Citizens' Survival Guide - Beyond the New Millennium (released Christmas 1997) is an edited, much expanded version of The Senior Citizens' Survival Guide (Published by SeTo in NZ and AUST; Mainstream in the UK) and The Over-The-Hill Survival Guide (Published by Meadowbrook Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster in the USA) was released in 1989 and sold well.
Actually, Malcolm Walker (illustrator) and I have done well with both editions and the royalty cheques continue to roll in. But after five print runs we figured the book was 'history' and had no plans to do another version until the NZ publisher contacted us and said the UK publisher was keen to have a new updated edition.
Just returned from a trip up North to visit the youngest and her hubby. We drove up from Whangarei through the Bay of Islands up to Doubtless Bay and Tokerau Beach where they live. Had some of the best fish & chips I've ever inhaled at a little place on the wharf at Mangonui - a fishing village that reminds me of Northern California in the fifties and sixties before the money moved in. A bit like Sausilito and a lot like Bodega Bay. Real nice. The smells of salt water, diesel and fresh fish. Weathered buildings, rusty cars and weathered people dressed in clothes that were never new. Link to Bob Feigel - Radio Memories
November 24, 2000 - Interview with Bob Feigel (B.F.) and celebrity.com
Life's a Laugh: An Interview with Humor Book Author Bob Feigel
BH: The "Senior Citizens Survival Guide" is imbued with black humor that pokes a great deal of fun at the aging process. There is one entry titled, "Two Ways to Maim With a Crutch", found in the "Self Defense" section of the book. How did you ever come up with such ideas?
BF: I got the idea to do the book in the late '70s when my stepdad had to have a serious surgery. My mother couldn't be left alone and they were living in a retirement community called Sun City, in southern California. It had a population of 30,000 and was out in the desert. You had to be at least 55 to live there and if you were under 55 you could visit but couldn't stay for any length of time without permission.
I got permission to stay for a couple of months to help take care of parents. I was in my thirties at the time.
But it was very funny to live in a community where nobody was under 55. I started making jokes to people back in New Zealand, where I had already moved at the time. I'd say things like, "I think they're putting embalming fluid in the water here." It was such a perfectly manicured place and it was so perfect in so many ways that I just wanted to go out and scream!
So I got a lot of ideas during my time at Sun City. Over the years, other ideas came. I needed a cartoonist, because a book like this depends heavily on the art. I found a great guy named Malcolm Walker who lived right in Auckland! And it seems like I found a publisher just as easily.
BH: Tell us a little about yourself, so we know who is behind the humor!
BF: I grew up in southern California. I've been a writer and a journalist for many, many years. I worked for surfing magazines in southern California and I still write for them. I came to New Zealand in 1974 with an old friend and loved it so much that I stayed. Now that my parents have passed away, my whole family is right here, my wife, my children and my granddaughter.
I'll be 59 in a few weeks. I wrote the first book before I was 50, but even then I could see the writing on the wall. I was working for an advertising agency and I was beginning to see a trend: anybody who got to be 50 suddenly lost their job. It was an unspoken thing, but it was well-known to be a practice. People thought that when a person got to be 50 his mind would turn off.
BH: How many Senior Citizens' Survival Guides have you written? It looks as if there are at least two in print.
BF: The first one was released in 1989 in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. The second one was printed in 1997. The English distributor in Scotland wanted a revised edition. They wanted more cartoons, references to Reagan changed to Clinton, more material, that kind of thing.
BH: How did the book do when it was first published back in 1989?
BF: It sold like crazy in New Zealand. We had 15, 000 copies printed and they sold out in 6 days. And the reason it did so well was that I sent a copy to New Zealand's most well-known media person, Paul Holmes. He has a radio show in the morning here. He started reading from the book on his radio show. It's a humorous look at getting old from the standpoint of: "Why take any nonsense from the youth-oriented culture? Fight back!"
BH: What kind of feedback have you gotten from readers?
BF: I've had a lot of letters forwarded to me by the publisher. Almost all are positive. One woman said she'd given it to her father who was in his 80s and the only thing she was worried about was that he would die laughing! Most people think it's great. I thought the book was going to sell to people as a joke - a humorous gift for a 50th birthday, for example, but the main readership is people 55 and older. One of the things I had problems with was my own age when the book first came out. Somebody said: "How would you know, you're too young to understand" but I remembered an old quote-I said, "50 is the old age of youth and the youth of old age."
BH: What do you hope the reader takes away from the book? Any kind of lesson or just a laugh?
BF: Laughter and enjoyment. There are some poignant points in it. Some thought provoking statements, but for the most part the book concentrates on laughing and getting on with life.
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