“I remember when Divine first saw Richard Simmons and confessed that he felt homophobic.”
With that, John Waters penned what very well may be the funniest sentence in recorded history. The line appears in the cult director’s latest book, “Carsick,” which depicts a cross-country hitchhiking adventure he embarked on in May 2012. To counter the reality, Waters also wrote two fictional novellas – “The Best That Could Happen” and “The Worst That Could Happen” – that preceded the aptly-titled “The Real Thing.”
Waters introduces the aforementioned nominee for funniest sentence ever in the chapter titled, “Blossom.” It’s part of the “Worst” and details Waters’ fictional ride with a gay man who drags him along on his mission to make Breeders pay.
As it turns out, Blossom is not the worst that happens to Waters. That occurs when he meets a truck driver who wants to make cult filmmakers pay. Although I knew these hellacious events never actually transpired, I couldn’t help but worry for Waters’ safety. I held my breath as I turned the pages and wondered to myself, “The tattoo has become infected and you know his encounter with the vegan left him smelling bad. How will he endure?”
Maybe it says something about my psyche, but I preferred the “Worst” to the “Best,” which includes Waters’ participation in a freak show and a demolition derby. I have no interest in reading about, attending, or taking part in either event and not even Waters could make them sound appealing. The “Best” did contain two of my favorite chapters. In one, Waters imagines reuniting with his late star, Edith Massey. In the other, he meets Connie Francis.
The freak show and demolition derby notwithstanding, our shared love of Connie Francis almost convinced me that Waters and I were on the same page. But then I read the dog rescue chapter in “Worst” and felt he was talking directly to me when he skewered people who prefer animals to humans.
Waters’ love of humans is apparent in “Carsick.” In the “Real Thing,” the man known as the “Pope of Filth” writes that the minister’s wife who gives him a ride “practices what she preaches” and “gives religion a good name.” He expresses surprise and admiration for all the married men who articulate love for their wives. And he’s touched by the people who, mistaking him for a homeless man, offer him money.
He comes across as a genuinely nice guy, so it’s not hard to understand why a young Republican town councilman, dubbed the Corvette Kid by Waters, goes out of his way to help him reach his destination. Waters’ assistants, with whom he remains in contact during his journey, suspect the Corvette Kid of having ulterior motives.
But who wouldn’t want to go on a road trip with John Waters?