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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, May 15, 2006

Book uncovers world of 'explosexuawesome' jobs

By Larry Ballard

Let's play a game.

Let's make a list of the best jobs. The ones we'd really, really die to have.

This will not be a simple list of highest-paying positions.

We will focus only on the jobs that we decide are fun and/or cool. In other words, nothing that requires a necktie, name tag or hair net.

Smock, maybe.

It's a game my friends (yes, they exist) play all the time. Who hasn't fantasized about the perfect gig?

Here are a few examples to get things started:

  • Water slide designer.

  • People who get paid to attend openings of hip new restaurants and bars to make the crowd look bigger.

  • Ice cream taste-tester.

    All of the above-mentioned jobs are included in a book written by my two newest friends (the count is now up to an even half dozen), Mose Hayward and Chris Stangl.

    Hayward, who grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, is a playwright who has also been a professional puppeteer, a writer for a soap opera on Chilean TV, and the guy who drops pieces of metal into an industrial compactor. He lives in Paris. So it's a safe bet he knows a thing or two about fun and/or cool.

    It's also a safe bet that a telephone interview would violate my calling plan, "Friends and Family Who Happen to Live in a Three-block Radius." Luckily, we were able to reach Stangl in Los Angeles, where he works in post-production in the television industry. For those unfamiliar with technical Hollywood terminology, "post-production" means "after production."

    Stangl, who went to high school in Des Moines, Iowa, once worked in a porn store, which might explain the book's title: "The Explosexuawesome Career Guide" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.95, paperback).

    Readers should take a moment to ponder that strange word in the title. (No, not "career." Geez.)

    We're talking about explosexuawesome, which the authors define as "an eye-bursting, skull-incinerating, kitty-consternating brand of cool."

    Hayward uncovered the most envy-inducing jobs from around the planet and interviewed the people who do them. He included information on salaries (did you know that a professional dodge-ball referee makes $10 per hour?) and provides tips on how to land your dream career. Stangl drew the pictures.

    "Really, the funnest job I've ever had was doing this book," said the guy who once worked in a porn shop.

    Now, I've never pretended to be a literary scholar. Airline pilot, sure. But my knowledge of what makes a good book, let alone one that's explosexuawesome, is admittedly limited.

    That said, I noticed a huge omission in Hayward and Stangl's effort.

    Semimonthly Business Columnist was nowhere to be found. In fact, not a single newspaper-related job made the list.

    I'm sure that you, too, are flabbergasted.

    Come on, who could possibly argue that "newspaper dude" is not among the coolest jobs out there? What other profession is as dangerous as it is important; as rewarding as it is low-paid?

    And, really, it's not all that difficult, despite what you've probably heard. The key is the all-important "sentence structure." Below is the cheat sheet all of us use. Just match each lively adjective with its corresponding common noun. Start with "officials said," and you're on your way:

    a. mounting 1. divorce

    b. skyrocketing 2. chase

    c. high-speed 3. announcement

    d. stunning 4. gas prices

    e. bitter 5. deficit

    f. explosexuawesome 6. semimonthly business columnist

    See? Now tell me that wasn't fun and/or cool.

    I suggested to Stangl that maybe his little guide needs a few revisions, and that maybe I could be involved in the sequel.

    "How fun would that be?" I asked.

    He said he agreed.

    Then he changed the subject.