Stupid Tuesday questions, Billy Bush edition

Merely by chance, the Better Half and I avoided catastrophe the other night.  Sitting wearily in front of the couch, we were flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch before heading off to bed.  It is the Better Half’s habit to scroll alllllllll the way to the beginning and scroll allllllll the way through to the weird, obscure channels before finally making a viewing decision.  I am not always 100% patient with this, but perhaps I have learned my lesson.  Had we not flipped all the way back to the low-numbered stations, we would have missed the Emmys completely.

I realize that missing an awards show would not be cataclysmic for most sane human beings.  But I never miss awards shows!  (More specifically, awards shows for acting.  I care not for your Grammys and lesser music awards shows.)  I would have been ninety-nine shades of dejected if I had woken the next morning to discover that I had flaked out on the whole thing.  (Thankfully, we tuned in just in time to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus win, and do that funny little bit where she and Amy Poehler pretended to accidentally switch acceptance speeches.)

As it turns out, the Better Half and I are a mite distracted by Events that are Transpiring in our lives.  (More on that some other time.)  And we must be distracted indeed for me to have nearly missed the only decent awards show until the Golden Globes (which only barely counts, anyway).

Anyhow, this got me thinking about the whole red carpet thing, and how much I would enjoy being one of the people who chats with the celebrities as they arrive.  I know I’ve said this before, but what the hell — friends, I would destroy that gig.  Destroy it.  Not only would I comment approvingly about what people were wearing, but I would also watch their performances and make real-live intelligent conversation about them!  I am constantly appalled at the inane babble the asshats who somehow landed those jobs spout when talking with the arriving celebrities.  Unseemly as it may be to toot one’s own horn, I know I would be roughly seventeen jillion times better at it.  If there’s one advantage to having been a slavish Oscars devotee since I was in high school, it’s that I would be able to parlay that devotion into appropriately informed banter with nominees.

I would destroy that gig.

So that’s this week’s Question — what job is your dream job, not merely because you’d enjoy it, but because you know you’d do better than the clowns who do it now?  What, if there were any justice in the universe, would you be doing for money right this minute?  And what hosers make you grit your teeth in fury when you see how badly they’re lousing it up?

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. I would love Terry Gross’s job on NPR. I’d love just to ask people about their work. While I think I’d be good at it, it’s not really because I think she’s bad at it.

    I would be much better at grilling politicians than most doofuses in tv journalism.

    • She is wonderful with artists and performers, especially those she appreciates, and pretty good with political figures she agrees with. When she tries to grill one she disagrees with, the result is pretty embarrassing: lots of indignation, no convincing arguments. She also has one of the world’s sexiest voices.

      • Meh.

        I recommend her conversation with the founder of e-Harmony. He’s pretty far from her views, but she’s respectful and asks intelligent questions.

        Of course, we could be seeing the same conversations through very different bias filters.

    • I once heard Gross and Fresh Aur defined as the triumph of “middle brow,” obviously not low brow, but not really high brow, either. If Rose replaced her I probably would finally contribute to NPR.

    • This is all I know about Terry Gross. I suspect that any additional information would be disappointing.

      • Her Stephen Colbert interviews are pretty good, but, no, they don’t live up to that.

        • Her interview with Gene Simmons was… well, they’ve two very different philosophies.

          I also enjoyed her interview with Colin Quinn.

  2. Erik Kain’s gig writing about video games at Forbes.

    P.S. Please don’t tell him I’ve associated him with clowns and losers.

    • Serious answer: my dream job is being a well-paid writer/blogger about religion and culture for a major publication company. Too many religion writers content themselves to scratch the surface of their topics without digging deeper. Sure, I do that as well, but if I made a living as a writer, I’d have the time worked into my schedule to devote to research and study.

      • Considering what you have posted in the last few months, you would be one of the best.

  3. My dream job would be to teach American history at my high school alma mater. I love teaching and I would love to try and make them appreciate history more than most kids do at that age.

    • Would you only consider doing this at your alma mater? If so, what makes it unique in that regard?

  4. I used to work for one of the most well-known brands in my industry, which happens to be a big part of my hometown’s history – when I tell someone from out of state where I grew up, nearly everyone asks me about that company.

    When they fell on hard times a while back the owners sold it and pretty much everything got moved out of state. Since then, the brand’s been run even more poorly than before. When I buy lottery tickets now, my little fantasy for winning is to buy the brand back from it’s new owners and run it myself – there’s no way I would be worse than the those running it now.

  5. TV sports analyst. While my talents tend more toward the statistical than the journalistic (think Tony Reali aka “Stat Boy”), I would absolutely crush the fools who do this for a living.

  6. I don’t think I’d be better at it than him, but I really want Bourdain’s job.

    Travel, eat, drink, pontificate, and get paid to do it?

    What could be better?

  7. I decided at an impetuous, egotistical age 11 that those morons at NASA that lost Challenger needed me to show them how to do it right.

  8. Comedy writer. On the rare occasions I watch what passes for TV comedy these days, I cringe.

    • Is there a particular show that you think has a good premise/characters/actors, but subpar/lazy writing, that you think you could save?

      Comedy is so subjective, it’s even harder to analyze than music is. There are certain shows that friends with tastes otherwise similar to mine love, that just don’t do it for me (the two weirdest examples here were Arrested Development and Kids In The Hall – either one seems tailor-made for my comedic sensibilities, yet they just didn’t work for me).

      Would love to hear yr thoughts on the best comedies going today.

      • I haven’t had much time to watch TV lately (though now, with the kids away, I have nothing but time.) Arrested Development is exactly the show I flatter myself I’d have written — so many jokes, in-jokes, self-references, and puns that they barely fit in a half-hour. Given how it struggled in the ratings, I should probably keep my day job. I’ve seen Modern Family only a few times, but loved it. So much energy, so many funny characters, and no “awwww” moments.

        • I really need to give AD another chance, I watched S1 way back when and just dropped it, maybe I just wasn’t in the right mindset.

          My brother tells me AD’s narrator got weirder and more meta as the show went on, but the narration really bugged me at the time; I felt like it telegraphed all the jokes, reminding you of the characters’ intentions, history & prior interaction as they approached their next interaction (whereas something like ‘Curb’ trusts you to just remember all the ridiculous interactions that, say, Larry and Wanda have had – so the minute you see her pull up next to Larry when he’s in some weird compromising position, you just start laughing because you can see what’s coming, without being told).

          I always wondered if the narrator in AD was initially just a concession to the network – like, OK, we’ll have multiple, dense storylines and beaucoup callbacks, but we’ll hold the audience’s hand just a bit too, so they don’t get lost.

          • Interesting. I generally dislike narration in TV and movies (show, don’t tell), but AD didn’t bother me. Not sure why: I never gave the purpose of the narrator much thought. He’s Ron Howard, of course, who produced the show. The most meta thing I recall was when one of the non-recurring characters insults George Michael by calling him “Opie”, and the narrator says “Jessie had gone too far and she had best watch her mouth.”

          • I always just took the narrator to be another level of absurdity. On the one hand, the show is very grounded in that there are very real moments captured throughout; on the other hand, it is patently absurd. Every time they have you wallowing in the former, they cut to a transition shot of the model home alone in the dessert or the narrator pipes in to remind you that there is nothing realistic about what is happening at all.

          • Yeah, I probably need to re-visit it sometime and see if it clicks the second time around.

            Check out ‘Party Down’ for my vote for best comedy show (non-animated) of the last few years. It was on Starz, so nobody saw it, only 2 short seasons. ‘Better Off Ted’ was on ABC, also little-watched, 2 seasons, but pretty great too.

            ‘Community’ can be good, but it sometimes goes so far over to the ‘conceptual/clever’ side, that the ‘really funny jokes’ side suffers (for me AD also had this problem on occasion – admittedly this is a hard balance to get right). The new season will have a different showrunner so no idea how that will work out.

            ‘Parks & Rec’ is solid. Haven’t seen ‘Modern Family’.

        • I bounced on AD too. Maybe it was just oversold (like Dr Who and Babylon 5).

  9. Oh, at this point, I would take my boss’s job as “Dean of Students” and knock it out of the park.

    I also think I’d be infinitely better doing sports reporting/commentary than most anyone out there. The only caveat to that is that some of the ridiculousness might be a byproduct of the incestuousness of the industry, which may well be true for some of what you see when watching whatever it is that has red carpets (I assume red houses?).

    • Kazzy, I’d like to see you in my office, please.

      No, leave your lesson plan there on the desk; you won’t be needing that.

      • Irony’s irony, I *DID* just get called into this guy’s office. HOW’D YOU DO THAT?!?!

    • I thought “Dean” was a college thing. Do elementary schools have deans now?

  10. I think I would make the world’s best philanthropist.

    Barring that, my dream job isn’t a job. Nobody pays you to do it.

      • It’s shame, really. It was a great thread until Tom jumped in and ruined everything.

  11. My dream job is to be a respected theatre director with one production in New York and one production in London every season. Preferably at the more artistically daring theaters. I’d love to divide my time between New York and London as well.

    The chances of this happening are slim to none. This isn’t because I think many theatre directors are bad but simply because theatre is my great love.

    • So they married, and he took her last name? Cool!

      (I **know** someone here will get this!)

        • Actually, that reminds me of an article about the two of them that I read once. The writer asked both of them (separately) whether their characters were sleeping together.

          Rigg: No, of course not.

          Macnee: Yes, of course.

          • LOL

            I didn’t think they’d be sleeping together either. Though if I were he, I would certainly want to.

    • Man, I almost went with something similar (radio-related). John Peel was the man.

      It still boggles my mind that we in the US had the ability to transmit, wirelessly – MAGICALLY, basically – any music over the air that had ever been created, and we let it all turn to corporate mush, the same 10 g*d* songs over and over everywhere in the the Land of the Free, rampant payola (by other names) corrupting, no imagination, no risk, no love…

      …Sorry. As a kid I dreamed of working in radio; and then I actually did. What a disillusioning experience.

  12. Research librarian at a decent-sized city library. I think I’d be pretty good at it, and answering off-the-wall questions and learning stuff myself sounds like fun.

    Alas, you need like 20 years of Library Science and an “in” to get a job like that these days.

  13. Life’s been pretty good. I got to do interesting work. But when the crop’s been harvested on the Cubicle Farm, I want to write novels.

  14. I have to break mine up into two parts, dream job and job I would do far better than those that do it.

    Dream job: Conductor of a mid-sized metropolitan symphony

    Job I could do better: I would be a much better James Franco Troll than James Franco Troll.

  15. Merely by chance, the Better Half and I avoided catastrophe the other night. Sitting wearily in front of the couch, we were flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch before heading off to bed.

    Is this a common practice? I hear people talk about it from time to time, but I don’t think it’s something I’ve ever done. When I turn on my TV, it’s always to watch one specific thing. When I was a kid I used to look through the TV Guide, but I can’t recall ever just turning on the TV and flipping through the channels in hopes of finding something interesting.

  16. I’ve batted about a dozen responses to this question in my head, but the persons currently occupying those jobs all do a pretty good job. Until I arrived at travel guidebook writer. I am absolutely certain I could do a better job than most of ’em, and i cannot envision any scenario where it was anything but Space awesome.

  17. Assigning LC subject headings. Heck, *creating* LC subject headings. Heck, taking ALL OF the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM AND FIXING EVERYTHING ABOUT IT THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY. (Needless to say, I stay out of the way of our catalogers, exemplary, brilliant, effective women who do not share my zeal for following in the steps of Sandy Berman, only with more nitpicking.)

    Jobs I have fiercely wished I had: planetary colonist, intrepid and slightly crazy field biologist, zookeeper. Sadly, my petty chronic health issues make all three of those options too implausible even to daydream about properly. Given my continually surprising lack of sudden independent wealth, I’m pretty happy with what I do.

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