Josh Chetwynd

A.E. Araiza/Arizona Daily Star

A series of humorous commercials for Dos Equis beer features a character touted as "The Most Interesting Man in the World." The Man is shown in exotic settings easily performing feats such as freeing a bear from a trap and surfing a killer wave.

My husband and I joke that our friend, Josh Chetwynd, is actually the most interesting man in the world. You wouldn't know it at first, because Josh is a down-to-earth guy who doesn't ramble on about himself. But as we spent time with Josh and his family, we heard more and more fascinating stories.

We met Josh and his son one summer day a few years ago, when we were swimming with our boys at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. We discovered that Josh and his wife and I all attended Northwestern University around the same time. Small world! So we exchanged contact info and our friendship began.

At our sons' baseball games or over dinner, we would hear about how Josh had played professional baseball in the United States and Europe. How he had flown aboard Air Force One. How he had walked the red carpet at the Academy Awards.

Josh is a journalist who has worked as a staff reporter for USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter and U.S. News & World Report. He is a television and radio sports broadcaster who has done live radio color commentary for the World Series. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Arizona, and he's also an author.

Josh and his books will be at this weekend's Tucson Festival of Books at the University of Arizona campus. One of his recent books is "How the Hot Dog Found Its Bun: Accidental Discoveries and Unexpected Inspiration That Shape What We Eat and Drink." Josh describes the serendipitous circumstances that led to the creation of some of our favorite foods and drinks, including Buffalo wings, nachos, potato chips, popsicles and pink lemonade.

Another good read is his "The Secret History of Balls: The Stories Behind the Things We Love to Catch, Whack, Throw, Kick, Bounce and Bat." From marbles to the bowling ball to the Magic 8 Ball, Josh offers insight into the origins and use of 60 balls.

Josh has a new title, "The Book of Nice: A Nice Book about Nice Things for Nice People," which has an official release date of April 9. If you attend thebook festival, you'll have an opportunity to get it in advance.

Josh will be at a booth at the book festival Saturday, and he will be signing books from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the University of Arizona BookStores Student Union location.

You can tell the most interesting man in the world that I sent you.

On StarNet: Read Kelley Helfand's recent columns at

If you go

• What: Fifth annual Tucson Festival of Books.

• When: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

• Where: University of Arizona campus. Attendance and parking are free.

• What: About 450 authors, book discussions, workshops and literary activities for the entire family.

• Sponsors: The UA and the Arizona Daily Star. The University of Arizona Medical Center is the presenting sponsor. Net proceeds will promote literacy in Southern Arizona through the Tucson Festival of Books Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

• Bookmark it: Go to for more information.

• Social media: Follow the festival on Facebook at and go to to follow on Twitter.

• Mobile: Apps are also available for iPhone, Android devices and Kindle Fire.

E-mail Kelley Helfand at