While recently watching a documentary short on a new male sex doll that's available to buy it occurred to me that I was just as interested in the woman doing the interview with the creators of said sex toy as I was with the actual information contained in the video. How did she stumble across such a deliciously taboo assignment? What are her qualifications? Tinker, tailor, spy, thief... porn star? My interest was definitely piqued. Which had me thinking about unique professions in general and how they apply to real life social situations.
Case in point, friends of mine have this fantastically entertaining story about a couple they met on their honeymoon where the husband was a children's underwear manufacturer. Now this is the kind of accidental greatness I long for as a writer. I don't think I'd have ever let this guy leave despite being on my honeymoon! I have sooooo many questions! I need to know all the ridiculous minutiae that comes with such a fascinating, unusual job. Human nature being as it is, the comically inappropriate reactions he must get are no doubt priceless. So much so that I imagine he's even considered lying about what he does just to avoid the entire thing. "Ugh. So not in the mood for THIS crap today. Today I'm an insurance salesman from Poughkeepsie."
So as I mentally try to come to terms with the morbid curiosity I have with both the children's underwear manufacturer and the male sex doll creators, it occurred to me that I should make a list of some of the occupations I'd love to have a drink with at some point in my life that I have not had the opportunity to meet thus far:
Mortician - Speaking of morbid, there are some jobs I could just NEVER do. This is definitely one of them. I hit the bricks and cry for my Mommy when I need to give blood for goodness sake, there ain't no way in hell I'm the one in charge of the bone saw and the embalming fluid. I'm a real wimp when it comes to bodily functions. It's a problem. Thus the avid curiosity about a mortician's career path I think. These are people who choose to deal with death and the results as a full-time job and on a very intimate level. Once again, SO MANY QUESTIONS! How did they get into the profession in the first place? Was it by design or by necessity? How do they wind down and relax after a hard day at the morgue? How psychically demanding is the job? Do they ever have that eerie feeling that the body is going to sit up and start Beetlejuicing around or have they seen too much to even be bothered anymore? Because I think we can all agree that it takes a very specific kind of person to be able to do this job successfully for any length of time, which is something I'd really like to delve into much more with someone actually doing it for a living.
Psychic - I've been having a long standing discussion with both my family and friends about the nature of this particular job for many years. There are so many successful psychics that hail from my neck of the woods that it's hard not to stand up and take notice, or at least be slightly intrigued. In all honesty I probably have a lot of the same run of the mill inquiries that everybody does about the how, when, and what of it. However, discounting the obvious, this is a profession that I feel would be much better served in knowing someone personally. Because I can speculate all I want about what I do and don't believe, but that doesn't amount to a hill of beans unless you're speaking one on one with someone who not only believes but has to sell that entire idea as their livelihood.
Voice Actor - Here's one of those professions that I can't decide if I would love or hate being associated with. Much like a successful comedian there's a certain perception that you always need to be "on", which has got to be a really frustrating way to live no matter how much you love the job. Nobody is "on", or funny, or in a good mood all the time. Nobody. It's inhuman to even think that. And yet a voice actor must always be prepared to bust out a character at the drop of a hat. I'm exhausted on their behalf just typing that. And even the biggest showboaters must tire of the continual badgering at some point. (Hey, Seth MacFarlane -- why don't you give me a call sometime?)
I actually remember hearing a story years ago about how Hank Azaria (an extremely successful, professional voice actor IF you don't already know that) and actress Helen Hunt got divorced after only a brief marriage because he didn't know how to turn off the voices -- ever. Now I don't know Hank Azaria or Helen Hunt personally but it's not that difficult to imagine. What must it be like inside the head of a human being who not only hears multiple voices but is encouraged to let them fly at any and all occasions? Intriguing or annoying? Probably a little bit of both if you ask me. Still, I am curious about the process itself and how it all began. Voice acting at a very high level of success and prominence is pretty rare and you come to notice that the circle is incredibly small -- the same handful of actors working behind the scenes over and over again. Meeting an actual professional in the field would be a great way to spend a Saturday night at the bar... Or would it? I'll let you know when I get that call from Seth's people.
So that's my off the cuff list of People I'd Like to Meet - The Bizarre Career Edition. I'm absolutely sure that the minute I publish this I'll think of a dozen more. But, in the meantime, what have you got? Like I said, my inquiring mind wants to know...