how i met my idol

Early this afternoon, my phone rang; it was my friend Jacki. We've known each other since 1987 or so, and she's lived in San Francisco for ten years. Back when we were angst-ridden teenage goth poseurs in Cleveland glumly sipping coffee or thrashing around to industrial music in the downtown warehouse district. Now, we're 30-something misfits who are just as goofy and immature together as we were in the late eighties.

"Hey Chad, what are you doing?"

"Picking at my scabs and drinking a protein shake."

"Okay, wanna go see John Waters?"

Do I want to go see John Waters. I've only wanted to meet him since, oh, 1980. "Fuck yeah, where is he?"

"He's signing his Christmas CD at Amoeba."

"Upper Haight?"


"I'm so there."

I dropped what I was doing, jumped up, changed my clothes, and ran out of the house to take BART to the Mission to Jacki's place. It's a really cool flat on 16th Street between Guererro and Dolores, and it's so, so Jacki...she has more toys now as an adult than I ever had as a kid. We looked around for something for John to sign, and decided on a still-sealed "Gary" doll from the "Dawn" series, dated 1970. Hey, it seemed like a good idea. We hopped on the ghetto-ass 22-Fillmore so we could catch the also-shabby 7-Haight to Amoeba.

Now, I understand the kind folks at Amoeba have a lot to deal with, with all the tourists and homeless people who crowd the sidewalk in front of the store, but I imagine boarding a plane in Tel-Aviv with a one-way ticket you bought with cash would be easier than entering the store. Bags were confiscated, no plastic bags allowed of any kind, Jacki could have her purse but because I was a boy my bag was taken away from me and peeked into, and we were issued cards from an "Uno" game that were used to tell us when we should get into the mile-long line to see John Waters. After getting all that straight, we walked into the jam-packed store.

Turns out, the wait was over 4 hours, so after browsing through their vinyl "lounge" section, we decided to get some Mexican food at Zona Rosa and cocktails at Murio's Trophy Room.

After a few rounds of Jim Beam & ginger ales, we went back to Amoeba to see if we were any closer to meeting Mr. Waters. Jacki flirted with one of the elves that were running the whole show, and somehow got us to the very front of the line. When there, the slightly inebriated DJ elf (he was actually spinning records for the event) looked at me and said, "Want some wine?" and thrust an entire bottle of two-buck chuck into my hand. Since no stemware was readily available, I elected to sip a bit from the bottle before handing it back to him.

Now, I'm no starfucker, but I was excited about meeting John Waters. I mean, he's one of my biggest influences...he allowed me to embrace and celebrate the dirty, filthy person within and allow this Dirty-Chad to blossom.

Finally, it was my turn. John looked a little tired and ready to go home, but he was quite gracious, and looked at me as if to say, "What do YOU want for Christmas, little boy?"

"Hi, I'm Chad."

"Hi Chad, I'm John."

"I have to ask you something."

"Okay, shoot."

"I sent you a Friendster message, and I was wondering if you had ever gotten it."

"What did it say?"

John's eyes lit up and absolutely danced as I relayed a condensed version of the story about what happened to me the first time I ever saw "Female Trouble" at the tender age of 19, back in the hot, hot summer of 1990 in Cleveland, Ohio. It's a pretty bawdy, dirty story, involving a filthy, cluttered apartment with 15 art students living in it, an antique barber chair I was sitting in, my big toe on my right foot, a dirty, dirty girl with a big puffy camel toe sitting on a couch next to me, and my big toe penetrating the camel toe unbeknownst to me because I was a bit stoned and completely engrossed in the movie.

"My god, I would have remembered that!" he exclaimed, with an amused grin. "Tell you want, write my publisher and tell me the whole story...I want to hear it, and if you send it to me that way, I'll totally get it."

"You bet!" I was thrilled.

"Hey you guys, how about a picture!" slurred another inebriated elf, who snapped a Polaroid of me sitting next to John Waters. I tried to scan it today, but I can't get my goddamn scanner to work. Soon, I promise...I'll take it to Kinko's or something. I look like a complete dork in the picture, but hey...it's not every day you get to have your picture taken with John Waters.



At 19:26, Blogger Steve said...

Wow! That's a great story. I've seen everything, including Hairspray a zillion times, and I loved the Simpsons' episode he did. I wanna see that pic!

At 23:11, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so. fucking. jealous.

when you become famous don't forget about lil' ole me, k?!

;) jesse

At 08:49, Blogger Matthew said...

I want them cha-cha heels!

I met him *very* briefly while he was here in Columbus for a screening of Pink Flamingos. I got his autograph on a flyer for the event, but that's about it - not nearly as cool as your story.

Aside from Hairspray (which sort of counts), Pink Flamingos was my first exposure to him. I've been wanting to change my work e-mail signature to: "There are two kinds of people in this world - my kind of people, and assholes. It's rather obvious which category you fit into," but I don't think it would go over so well...

What did you think of "A Dirty Shame?" My favorite line was, "There's somethin' the matter with your vagina!" Great stuff.

At 15:23, Blogger Neil said...

hey he is a defo hero of mine...john waters taught my friend the definition of "tea bagging"...BUT YOUR STORY IS SO MUCH BETTER...i want to see the pic and also hear the full story of the camel toe incident...pls..

At 16:31, Blogger Dantallion said...

Very, very cool. Can't wait to see the pic.

At 15:28, Blogger scUK said...

That is a fucking hilarious story. The camel foot link was a bit graphic, but educational. ;o)


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