Interview with Bernie Otis about humorus book How to Prepare for Old Age

Today’s special guest is Bernard “Bernie” Otis. He’s chatting with me about his humorous look at life in his book, How to Prepare For Old Age (Without Taking the Fun Out of Life).
Bernie Otis
is well-known for food service facility planning, marketing, and management and
has been a sales consultant, speaker, writer, and community leader.
During his
65-year career, he has been instrumental in helping firms like ITT Corp,
Hewlett Packard, Barkley’s Bank, and Tiffany’s of New York, as well as being
involved in the design and construction of food service facilities for
Disneyland, major hospitals, universities, and restaurants.
Bernie lived
in Las Vegas for 21 years and has done most of the hotels in that city as well
as the majority of the hotels and restaurants in Southern California, Santa
Clarita, and San Diego areas to name a few.
He joined
Rotary in 1954 and has been president of 2 clubs and charter member of 3. He is
a Paul Harris fellow.
As a trained
hospice care giver, he works with families of terminally ill patients and does
other community service. He is also a consultant to Lifeline Companion Services,
a leading home healthcare organization.
Bernie has
been actively involved in the National Indian Gaming Association, is a major
speaker at industry conferences. His talk on the history of Las Vegas is
exciting, interesting, and popular as are his talks on business and
relationship building.
When his
internationally respected wife Anna was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Bernie
put his career on hold and spent the next two and one half years at her side
making certain that her final journey was as comfortable as possible.
Following the
tragic passing Anna in October of 2012 he moved into Fairwinds-West Hills
Assisted Living facility in West Hills, CA where he continues his work with
persons with disabilities, along with his other activities. From the time Anna
passed until March of 2015 Bernie has also spent his time writing a tribute to
The book How to Prepare for Old Age (Without Taking
the Fun Out of Life)
, was published in May of 2015 and introduced at the New
York Book Faire. It is a humorous and anecdotal book about the journey through
life. He has also, as part of this book written a Book of Poems about Life,
which is part of the publication.
His first book,
Revenue Generation Through the Sale of
Kumquats and Other Things
has been most successful.
Welcome, Bernie. Please tell us about
your current release.
In this
touching, often humorous and very personal account, Bernie shares his 86 years
of life, love, loss, and laughter as an inspirational guide to what it means to
age without growing old. His advice on love after 60, how to talk with family
members about illness, what you should be prepared for when confronting tragedy
and loss, what it means to be a caregiver to a loved one and many other of
life’s challenges are a must for family members young and old.
Mr. Otis’
book is a treasure trove of personal and professional life experiences that
will help you prepare for old age and take control of the nature of aging. Be
prepared to laugh out loud and quietly shed a tear as Bernie takes you through
the voyage of life.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to
do something to honor my beautiful late wife as well as leave a legacy to my
I believe
that one should not die and not leave their knowledge behind.
Excerpt from How to Prepare For Old Age (Without Taking the Fun Out of Life):
Let’s get to know each
other, shall we?
Every good relationship
begins with a first step.
A beginning.
So, the first thing you
need to know about me is that I was born into a large Orthodox Jewish family in
The second thing—which may
be a result of my upbringing, who knows?—is that I’ve been told I have a rather
bizarre sense of humor for an eighty-five year old.
How’s this for size?
Jason was told that his ninety-five-year-old grandfather had passed away, he
immediately went to see his ninety-year-old grandmother to comfort her. When he
arrived, he asked her what had happened.
grandmother explained that her husband died while they were having sex.
was stunned, and told his grandmother that he was shocked to find out that they
were having sex at their age, suggesting that it was a “very bad
grandmother responded by telling him that she and the grandfather had
discovered, a few years earlier, that if aging persons had sex when the church
bells rang, it was safe.
said that it was all about the rhythm—that if you go in with the ding and out
with the dong it was very relaxing and safe.
then she added, “If that stupid ice cream truck hadn’t come by, Grandpa would
still be alive today.”
Yay? Nay?
Okay. Onward…
We lived in a
predominately Jewish neighborhood. We’re talking an area that was about
seventy-five percent Jewish, twenty percent Catholic, and the rest a mix of
various religions.
My goal was to become an
architect, an ambition I abandoned in my thirteenth year due to bad eyes. I did
not attend the local high school (Central High), but instead chose to attend
Cass Tech, a very well-known technical school that was located some seven miles
from my home. I attended Cass Tech much to the chagrin of my parents who
nonetheless allowed me freedom of choice. The streetcar and bus both got me
back and forth except when there were transportation strikes, which was
In those dark times, I had
to walk. I had no choice.
However, regardless of the
occasional inconvenience, this decision—mine and mine alone—would prove to be a
major turning point in my young life.
The student population of
Cass Tech, a seven-story building in the downtown area of Detroit, was
comprised of individuals seeking to become not only architects, but also
artists, engineers, musicians, technicians, builders, chemical scientists…
They came from every race,
creed, religion, ethnicity, financial level, and family status.
For the first time in my
life, I was confronted with real
options as to my future.
And a real mix of people
that have enabled me in my lifetime to look upon everyone as an
What exciting story are you working on
I am
writing a book about our two most valuable assets: awareness and relationships.
When did you first consider yourself a
Many years
ago when we were using stone tablets, I began to write business books and
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I am 86
years of age and live in an assisted living center. I spend my time writing,
advising clients on business development issues, and speaking at Rotary clubs
and community organizations.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
The ability
to sit down in front of a computer and just start to write—the words just flow.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
architect, but because of my poor eyesight, I was not able to pursue that.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Make every
day a happy event and help others grow.

Thank you for being here today,

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