Posts Tagged ‘ the Workplace ’




If total peace of mind could be

obtainable, life would be boring.

Earth dwellers have no choice but

to endure the pangs of existence.

That’s how we learn things.

And that’s why I believe in the

significance of being insignificant.

There are those I’ve traded lip

service with who have plummeted into

that bottomless abyss we all

know so well. Yet, somehow many

of us manage to find an elevator to

bring us back to whatever surprise

fate has scheduled for our future.

Everybody knows that bitterness

tastes lousy, anguish stings and

triumph is sweeter than sour.

I don’t need extreme isolation on a

mountain top to find enlightenment.

My Himalayas are everywhere. On a

crowded street corner, on a pier

overlooking the Pacific, surviving

a dull sermon, watching cloths dry

at a laundromat, trapped in a cave,

making love to a babe, doing solitaire in

The Big House, eyeballing the lantern moon,

spilling profound secrets to a pet pooch,

facing death in combat, driving home

alone, flying solo above the clouds.

Here’s a thought about the human

condition that might impress even

Confucius: We’re all a little bonkers!

Think about it. Look into the mirror.

The significance of being

insignificant is where we’re at.

Live with it!


Boots LeBaron


(Boots’ book, THE HUMAN RACE, is available on

Kindle and in paperback on Amazon. It contains

human interest stories, essays and light poetry

focusing on people just like you. Read it!)




     Having lived with dyslexia since childhood, I had no idea that my lack of reading skills, my inability to spell, work with numbers, or even my artwork, had anything to do with the circuitry between my ears.

     Neither did my parents, teachers or adult co-workers.

     That brain-based learning abnormality specifically impairs a person’s ability to read and comprehend. Dyslexia has clouded my existence from pre-school through decades of adulthood. Even at this stage in life, I continue to omit or add letters or words when writing. Yet as a reporter, a writer-publicist and freelancer, I’ve published thousands of stories throughout my adulthood.

     Whenever I sketch a human figure or draw a cartoon character, I must concentrate on what side of a foot or hand to place the big toe or thumb.

     Knowing what I now know about my conceptual malfunctions (Rudolf Berlin, the German ophthalmologist, coined the term dyslexia in 1887), I wouldn’t swap my impulse center for any other set of gray cells, no matter how brilliant, conniving or ingenious they might be.      

     When neurologists and other knowledgeable researchers began delving into the auditory, visual, mental-concentration factors and creative roots of dyslectics like me, I began to feel good about my brain disorder. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it. But I’m convinced that such a biological mishap is an endowment, a phenomenon capable of reaching impressive heights and depressive lows.

     Like my fellow passengers who ride the same dyslexic train, we are a massive group of unique men, women and children. Like it or not, our “short-circuitry” enables us to board a streamlined express that’s creatively and intellectually on the fast track.

     For dyslexia does not affect the intellect; nor does it relate to I.Q. But it does have to be identified, then nurtured and harnessed.

     Back when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was U.S. President (1933-45), I was a rudderless kid, a child actor, growing up in Los Angeles sharing a tiny one-bedroom apartment with my single-parent mother and grandmother.

     Granted, I was confused and floundering, unconsciously searching for my humanity. Occasionally, even as an adult, I was a target of ridicule and verbal abuse.

     So I know the sting of humiliation. It must have hurt, but I didn’t bleed, I didn’t hide. My mother, grandmother and rogue Hollywood stuntman father gave me different kinds of love. Maybe that’s why I never felt stupid, naive, illiterate, incorrigible or any of those coarse descriptions.

     Even today, I might hesitate before confessing that I ain’t well educated. That kind of attitude erupts with a tinge of pride. I’m no ignoramus. Like a lot of my brothers and sisters, I come with a different set of smarts. Many years ago at a cocktail party, Ernest Hemingway told me that he flunked high school English and that F. Scott Fitzgerald “couldn’t spell for shit.”

     That brief encounter with the man I wanted to emulate lifted my spirits. Of course, my favorite writers were also J.D. Salinger (“The Catcher In the Rye”) and Mickey Spillain who introduced Mike Hammer, a private eye in such popular books as “The Big Kill” and “My Gun Is Quick.” To my way of thinking, they were all classics and easy reads. That included several of Hemingway’s novels.    

     Now that I’m running neck-and-neck with Methuselah, I want to emphasize that dyslexics aren’t all lost souls. They are scientists, actors, magicians, CEOs, exercise consultants, blue-collar workers, artists, doctors, lawyers, felons, politicians. You name it.

     Had it not been for George Roberts a journalism teacher at Los Angeles High School in the late 40’s who introduced me to writing, I might have wound up like a few of my friends doing the convict shuffle in The Big House.

     How do I know this? I ran “makes” on them when I was a police-beat reporter for The Los Angeles Times. My first Times’ job was separating postcards on weekends while I attended Los Angeles City College on the GI-Bill. Then I worked in the circulation department, and took a drop in salary to become a copy boy working in editorial. Eventually I wound up writing TV log listings, a weekly FM radio column and interviewing TV actors.

     I had no idea that I was dyslexic. Neither did a lot of people who helped me along the way. Smokey Hale, the night managing editor at The Times, told me: “You want a real job? Leave all this Hollywood crap and I’ll get you transferred to the police beat.” Best move I ever made.

     Times reporters Jerry Hulse and Jack Smith (both became well-known columnists with best-selling books) were very supportive. Jerry was like a mentor. When I was calling in stories from “the beat” he showed me how to boil down a juicy homicide into a one-sentence pitch to the city desk. He tried to teach me how to put a story together. That took patience laced with compassion.

     When I left The Times and joined Glenn Rose & Assoc. to publicize the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, one of my unwitting teachers, thanks to Glenn, was Alan Scott, a screen writer who was credited writing screenplays for many of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals.

     His office was a tiny room off Sunset Boulevard with barren walls, a cot, a desk, a typewriter and a few books. I’d drive him to a hotel near the cliffs overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica.

     During those drives we talked mostly about writing. Gems the screenwriter and playwright offered me ranged from comedy to dramas like “So Proudly We Hale,” a World War II story starring Claudette Colbert, Veronica Lake and Paulette Goddard as battle-weary nurses in the Pacific during World War II.

     Eventually, I went to work at Universal Studios. That’s when Willard Thompson, a Times editor, published my interview stories and gave me by-lines.

     Yet, my most fascinating adventure was working with a gang of hard-boiled police-beat journalists in the pressroom at LAPD’s Parker Center where I learned about life, death, human misery and crime reporting. There were no women “beat” reporters in those days. Yet I loved all those tough hombres.

     The L.A. Times was my MBA. I didn’t graduate magna cum laude but the adventure was irreplaceable. And I truly respected the news business and all the wonderful characters who covered the world.  

     Walter Lantz, an Oscar winning animator (Woody Woodpecker) and fine artist, taught me how to draw cartoons and paint with oils.

     For me, dyslexia was the ace I was dealt. It was a blessing in disguise. Because of my cerebrate wiring, I’ve performed my brand of creative sorcery that baffled well-educated others. Alone, I could come up with more substantial ideas than a conference table filled with smart asses.

     I can’t read a note of music, but I can fake it as a nightclub pianist with tips to prove it. I don’t read many novels or historic non-fiction. But I study humor, writing styles, and dabble seriously into any think piece that I can focus my eyeballs on.

     I’ve written hundreds of stories and poetic essays that have been published in newspapers and magazines. More than 800 of my free-lance columns appeared in The Daily Breeze and Los Angeles Copley newspapers. Some I illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings.     Parental love was my fortress in a silent storm where reading, writing and arithmetic were my bugaboos. I had lots of love, compliments of my mother, grandmother and actor-stuntman father who she shed twice in divorce courts. Although he never paid alimony or child support, I loved my deadbeat old man.

     Throughout life, I owe thanks to many people. That includes my wife JoAnne who not only gave me moral support for more than a half century, but somehow tolerated my idiosyncrasies. I have three grown kids, Beau, Brooke and Brandon. In different ways, they have learned to understand and even appreciate their father’s avant-garde thought-processing mechanism.

     So I have no regrets. Neither should any man, woman or child suffering from such a unique learning disability. As the years whiz by, I’ve concluded that dyslexia has been a rare gift that came in unorthodox wrappings.

     With pride, I will forever cherish my short circuitry.

— Boots LeBaron —

(THE HUMAN RACE by Boots LeBaron contains

 inspirational and humorous interviews, essays

and light poetry about life, courage, death,

women’s’ rights, business, romance & faith.

Buy it on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon)




Shouldn’t we wonder:

Must we bleed if  we blunder?

Absorbing  jabs of humiliation

Doesn’t come close to castration.

Young or old, meek or bold,

It takes time to get a foothold.

If we’ve blundered more than once,

Must we be barbecued at lunch?

Can’t we laugh at our woes

Rather than cynically oppose?

To debunk prejudicial brutality,

Use your wit and humorality.

To debunk society’s abusive parade,

The secret is not to be afraid.

If your weapon of choice is sarcasm,

Strike back with irrefutable  enthusiasm.

Belligerent  playmates, no matter who,

Deserve a kick in the ass by you!

When you counterpunch with caustic wit,

It’ll prove  your taunter’s the true nitwit.

Boots LeBaron

(Boots’  book, ‘THE HUMAN RACE,” shows you how

to counterpunch featuring inspirational and humorous

interviews, essays and light poetry.  Buy it! It’s available

on Kindle and on Amazon in paperback)


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Don’t tell a person how to live.

Every man and woman has

their own regrets to bear.

Their own insecurities.

Triumphs. Blunders. Failures.

You can tell a person

that he or she can find

happiness despite sadness.

It ain’t easy!

But it can be accomplished.

To find a sense of humor

about your pathetic self,

look into the mirror. There’s

truth behind those sulking eyes.

On a wretched day, hard-core

humility can throw pomposity and

denial out the window. Painful truth

plays a vital part in discovering

who you are and where you stand

in life’s intense spotlight.

Why shouldn’t reality hurt?

Nobody knows precisely

who and why we are we.

It’s like handling your own

confession: The old “forgive-

me-for-I-have-sinned” routine.

In that looking glass,

the real you is staring at you

alone, winking slyly, making

your conscience twitch.

Don’t be afraid. Wink back.


Boots LeBaron

(THE HUMAN RACE written by Boots is an

inspirational self-help book containing

philosophies interspersed with humor for

those who are in search of themselves)



Freedom is ignoring the consequences,

speaking truth in the midst of bellicose critics.

 Freedom is refusing to take shit from

an abusive lover or partner.

 Freedom is choosing the best path

to take when prison gates open.

 Freedom is confessing your love

for a women who might not love you.

 Freedom is buying love when

there’s absolutely no alternative.

 Freedom is having enough cash in

your pocket to feed your family.

 Freedom is the act of conquering denial.

Freedom is coping with the pain of losing a

loved one in life’s erratic parade of fate.

Freedom is to brazenly face life’s pitfalls

despite wounds to the ego you must endure

 Freedom is ignoring negative impact

with a sense of humor.

 Freedom is that feeling of elation

after you’ve said your piece.

 Freedom is forgiving but never forgetting

the act of  a back-stabbing blabbermouth.

Freedom is returning  the wrath a

 bully with your own brand of gusto.

Freedom is a gift to cherish, yet

such a pain in the ass to maintain.

 Freedom is standing bold

against any kind of indignity.

 — Boots LeBaron —

(Boots’ book, THE HUMAN RACE, is available

on Kindle and Amazon in paperback. It consists

of human-interest stories, essays and light poetry)




     Picture this: A B-17 bomber returning home after a devastating combat mission. Flack has damaged part of its tail rudder. The fuselage is riddled with bullet holes. One engine is sputtering. Low on fuel, will that old bucket of bolts make it back to home base?

     For God’s sake, that’s a metaphor for me! I just turned 82! In life, I’ve taken my share of hits and survived many missions over enemy territory. Yet I’m still writing and illustrating stories and essays about young and old people just like you. The final edit of my book, “THE HUMAN RACE” is now available on Kindle and Amazon in paperback.

     Whenever I touch down on life’s tarmac, people tell me that I look great. I want to believe their bullshit. After one glance in the mirror, I know better. What my book has to offer are stories, related essays and light poetry. Those are my weapons. My mission is to introduce you to you. That is, if the two of you care to meet.

     Here’s a sampling of the many men and women you might identify with: A rogue astronaut, a heartbroken single parent, a matador, cardiologists who grapple with death, a U.S. president, a psychic who doesn’t do “flying horns,” a war vet, a topless dancer studies her neurotic male audience, a movie star who despised Hollywood, a rabbi who survived memories of the Holocaust with humor, a prosecutor for the D.A. who sent three men to death row, a divorcee who knows how to rise above her woes, a LAPD bomb squad technician speaks of fear, the Picasso of shoe repair, journalistic dinosaurs who covered crime, a philosophic janitor, The Beatles, a pari-mutuel clerk psychoanalyzes racetrack bettors, 9/11 firefighters and cops, courageous men and women all…

     The guys and gals I’ve written about  have sampled triumph, humiliation, heartbreak, poverty, love and managed to laugh in the face of adversity. I’m proud to say they trusted me with their most intimate tales. Hopefully you’ll find something in common with many them. They are my professors. I want them to be your professors, too!

     So buy the damned book on Kindle or Amazon.

     This damaged B-17 Flying Fortress isn’t the only one who insists that his book is meaningful and entertaining.

     Produced and formatted by my son Beau’s  Blue Soul Publishing, here’s some quotes that pleased this  battle-weary old Flying Fortress:

     Dr. Carolyn M. Walker, a psychologist, writes: “Boots has a genuine interest in a wide variety of people and in each individual’s unique ‘story.’ He has an ability to combine their interviews with his own life experiences to arrive at some interesting universal truths about the human struggle. He uses his journalistic skills to present these thoughts in a readable, entertaining and somehow optimistic manner.”

     Jim Norris, a historian, says: “Combining humor, history and philosophy, “THE HUMAN RACE” is a book with the kind of stories and essays you can return to again and again.”

     Fern Levine, a retired airline administrator, writes: “A beautiful anthology of poetry, prose and vignettes. The stories are captivating, sometimes funny, often sad, and always kept me wanting to turn the page for more. The author has drawn on decades of experiences, and encounters with a grab bag of goodies, with something for everyone to relate to.”

     Carlos Schiebeck, a photojournalist and combat photographer for UPI and Agencee France Presse, says: “Very interesting read. This was written by someone who has thought a lot about human nature and did interviews to prove what he understands about the human psyche. Well written.”     

     Now that kind of propaganda is the kind of fuel that keeps this beat-up old B-17 still flying high.

                        — Boots LeBaron —  

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