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The X Files
Xavier Hermosillois the President of CrisisPros, a national Crisis Communications, Marketing, and Management firm he founded 20 years ago ( and is based in his native San Pedro, CA. He is a former political chief of staff, an award-winning print reporter and photographer, and a former radio talk show host and TV commentator in Los Angeles. He is an elected member of the Board of Directors of CGI Holdings, Inc., ( a publicly-traded company that is headquartered in Chicago. He co-founded a NASDAQ company based in Chicago, serves as a Hearing Examiner for the L.A. Police Commission on police officer discipline cases, and holds Honors degrees in Administration of Justice, Marketing and Management. He can be reached at

June 13, 2005

My days as a radio talk show host in Los Angeles taught me a shocking lesson - that most people don’t have a clue about politics, history, or the world around them. And they could care less.

It was very distressing to me because I began to realize why people didn’t turn out to vote and thus, we all got stuck with so many dunderheads in our city halls, state capitals, and in Washington DC. This all comes to mind this week because of the aftermath of a few events in the news including the Michael Jackson trial, the L.A. Mayor’s race, the Senate confirmation of a noted and highly respected African-American federal judge, etc.

It all came to me like a bright flash as I was driving down the street on a major thoroughfare and a twenty-something female drove from the far left lane, across the front end of my car, and three lanes over to make a right turn at the absolute last minute WITHOUT signaling, waving, looking behind her, nothing!

When she had to stop for the red light and I caught up with her and was prepared to convey some of my road rage, I noticed she was holding a cell phone to her left ear, she stuck a slice of something in her mouth, and then produced some sort of cosmetic instrument that she began to use around her eyebrows.

I tried to tell her to either drive correctly or pull over if her cell phone conversation was so important that she felt it was okay to endanger other people’s lives. She told her cell phone friend, “Hold on, some jerk is yelling at me.”

“What’s your problem?” she asked me. “Where do you get off yelling at me when you don’t even know me?” Oh, this one was easy, though I felt a tinge of guilt firing back at Miss Clueless.

I told her, “Where do you get off running a few of us off the road as you talk on the phone, eat, and try to improve your looks, none of which you appear capable of doing correctly?” She looked stunned. I wondered if I had gone too far or was justified in my frontal assault on her car’s assault on the sensibilities of the rest of us sharing the four lanes of the highway.

It was a long stop light that had slowed her reckless progress in the small foreign car, so I tried to see if I could turn the lights on in her head and make her realize she was not only putting folks like me at risk, but she too could get hurt if she failed to focus on the road and those around her.

But she was either as clueless as a person could be, or she was one of those many people I had discovered while on talk radio – the average and disconnected Joes and Janes who live simple lives and boring existences and can’t even tell you the name of the President of the United States.

I swear to you there are a lot of people like that in our world, and they manage to grow up and get married, and then, bring children into the world who are handicapped from Day One because they live with the intellectual equivalents of a gerbil. They can communicate with you, but not very well. They can’t handle any complicated thought processes but they work in industries that provide something we need, and that’s how they pay the bills.

Ethnicity is usually not an issue, except that they don’t know what the word means and they’d rather live around people who look, act, and speak like they do. They’re generally good people whose only exposure to the police is after a couple of hours of alcohol consumption, or, when they’re called upon to help deal with a friend or family member who also has fallen under the spell of those dastardly Southerners, Jim Beam or Captain Morgan.

A number of my friends have recently told me they want to move away from the Big City and find some little country bumpkin place where life is slower, quieter, with less traffic and pollution, and no crime. Their fantasy view of the greener grass on the other side of the fence makes me wonder what they’ve been drinking or smoking. Yet, Oregon, Utah, Missouri, and Arizona have lured away many of my pals.

I felt the need to take a very serious look at these moves and see if my friends were going through another mid-life crisis, just a little later in life. We are, after all, Baby Boomers and we can change the rules of life anytime we want or make new ones when the old ones don’t fit.

So I mounted my three-wheeler (yes, 3 wheels) and set out to have a meaningful discussion with myself, clear out the cobwebs from my mind, and try to find the proverbial meaning of life. I decided to stay on the sidewalks so as not to endanger people in cars who were talking, eating, and applying makeup at the same time.

I soon discovered beautiful flowerbeds down the street from my house. I saw first-hand the beautiful handiwork of so many people who had placed memorials in their windows in honor of loved ones or of their faith. I also realized there are more pot holes and wide open cracks in sidewalks and alley ways than any city deserves, and I experienced the dangers of drivers who seem connected to laser beams bringing them to their destination.

It came to me that as I drive around town, whether it is on local streets or freeways, I am moving so fast and my mind is so wrapped up in my work, politics, sports, music, whatever, that I miss the little things I was now noticing and enjoying, as if for the first time.

Here I was, in the community where I was born, raised, and have lived all my life, slowly cruising the sidewalks as any pedestrian or jogger would, and I was making new discoveries on every block. I passed a fellow working on his car in his garage. Gosh, I can’t recall the last time I was in my garage and certainly there is not enough room in there for me to work on anything.

I saw another guy sitting on a lawn chair in front of his garage, just sitting. I asked him what he was thinking about and he said, “Nothing. I’m just sitting here with nothing to do and nothing on my mind.” The concept escaped me. What about the future of social security, I wondered. Have you thought about that? Do you realize we’re still in Iraq and many of our local men and women are over there? What do you think of that? I found it hard to accept that he probably wasn’t thinking about any of that. He was just sitting there, apparently enjoying a life experience that either has or will elude me.

I couldn’t resist asking him what he thought of Michael Jackson’s trial and fate. He just shook his head and said, “This is a sick world sometimes. Sad, really sad. What has happened to America?” He waved me off, saying, “Enjoy your ride, Mister. Stay focused on what’s around you and ignore what you see on the boob tube.”

This was sage advice. I began to understand why so many of my friends are fed up with life in the fast lane. We live life at the speed of sound, zipping from here to there, eating on the run, listening to our iPods in the car because commercial radio is not good enough for us anymore.

I was now completely tuned in to streets I had only driven in a car but never experienced at two miles an hour. Any thoughts I had of joining my friends on the road out of town were now in the past. The reality that most people don’t give a damn about politics, or anything that is hard to figure out, or doesn’t make life easier, all of a sudden were making sense to me in a weird way. All the folks who frustrated me because they seemed to be part of the problem were now emerging as pretty sane people to me.

I though about how we have a new Mayor in L.A. and I was thinking he’ll do well. He has a big heart, a lot of experience in making things happen among other politicians, so maybe for once, El Lay is in good hands. I would never expect Mayor Antonio to slow down and smell the roses as I was doing for once. This is a man who not only lives life in the fast lane; he almost never gets off the road. His 24-hour and 36-hour marathon tours during the campaign are more than most people can even comprehend, but it was Antonio Villaraigosa’s way of showing his energy and drive to be a good mayor.

The U.S. Senate has finally approved Janice Rogers Brown to be a federal appeals curt judge. She’s been a California Supreme Court justice, has a brilliant intellect, but had to endure the Neanderthals in Washington who didn’t like a Black woman who speaks her mind and is usually right in how she has decided cases. People like Judge Brown move around the country anyway as their careers grow, and career is more important than cracks in the street or just sitting in front of your garage thinking about nothing. Like most people in her position, she is smarter than the average bear, but probably spends more time on life’s complexities than its simplicities.

And finally, the Michael Jacksons of the world remind us that when you allow yourself to stray from the real world of real people, when you lose focus because you are so self-absorbed and cloistered in your own little world of money, power and adulation, even the people who like your music eventually figure out that you’re an out-of-touch freak who never really understood how the little people live.

As I reached the end of my ride 11 blocks from home, refreshed by the wind in my face and feeling full from all the new discoveries, I faced a new and harsh reality. There was a Relay for Cancer event on the athletic field at my alma mater and the track was ringed with luminarias paying homage to those who had fallen victim to the Big C. I recognized more names of those who had succumbed to cancer than I wanted to admit.

Those of us who work in, around, and with the media often miss the subtleties of life. We tend to focus on the stark and graphic ugliness that makes headlines or helps the ratings. We don’t like to recognize or address our own frailties and mortality because we’re so busy living life.

But those people who have passed on, whether they lived life in the fast lane or stopped to smell the roses, are gone for good. They never made it out of town to a new refuge in Oregon, Utah, Missouri, or Arizona where they could escape the Big City. And the world of politics, crime, celebrity trials, TV ratings, traffic, and pollution are meaningless now. Hopefully they have found the place they had longed for and had worked an entire lifetime to experience.

And now I can settle my restless heart down a bit and ignore the rudderless in life, like that twenty-something who cut me off as she talked, ate and tried to improve her looks. She may not look like someone who has a plan for her life, but I have a new handle on how life has a plan for us, whether we know it or not, and whether we accept it or not. Life has its own rules and its own time line.