COFFEE’S PROMISING WHIPPERSNAPPERS

THE HUMAN RACE

THE EVOLUTION OF A CUP OF JAVA 

When I started drinking coffee in

the late 1940s, a panhandler might have

asked, “Hey, Bub, can you spare a dime

for a cup of java?” Today he’d say,

“Hey, dude, can you spare a fiver for

a Black Forest espresso smothered in

cherries and chocolate?” Or maybe a

less expensive Mocha Latte? There was

no decaf when I was a young man sampling

life in Los Angeles. You’d hit a diner

and take a stool at the counter. A waitress

with a cigarette dangling from her lips

would coo, “What’ll it be Sweetie?”

All you had to say was, “Coffee.”

If, as she poured, an ash from her Camel

flittered into your brew, no problem.

You’d add a couple of lumps of sugar,

cream, stir with a metal spoon, and

gulp it down. Ash and all. Like

clockwork she’d sashay along the

the counter refilling cups. No extra

charge. You’d add a nickel or a

Mercury-head dime to the damages. Except in

ritzy joints like the Hollywood Brown Derby

where movie moguls penciled thoughts on white

linen tablecloths, even loose pennies would

qualify as a reasonable gratuity. To order

a brew at a Coffee Bean or Starbucks today,

it’d help to have an analytical mind. You

stand in line watching servers mixing

concoctions like an Iced Blended Tea

Latte and wonder: Who are these

erudite whippersnappers? They’re

everything imaginable: Future chemists,

psychoanalysts, artists, bartenders,

actors, CEOs, even college professors.

 — Boots LeBaron —

Boots’ new book, “THE HUMAN RACE,” is now available on

Amazon in Kindle and paperback. With humor,  inspirational

essays and stories about real people, it focuses on life,

death, the workplace, Showbiz, God and broken hearts.

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