When I checked my voice mail to see if anyone called in a party, I heard there was a barbecue in Crest, so off I went.
Marilyn had a big house with a pool in the backyard, and her husband Bob was barbecuing burgers in the driveway.
There was a gate, and it took me a few minutes to figure out how to get in. And that’s odd, considering they left a sign with directions right there. (They wanted to keep the gates closed so the dogs wouldn’t get out.)
After parking and figuring out the gate code, I looked over and saw a van with the name of a mobile DJ company painted on the side. I cringed. I had to explain to my girlfriend that I knew the guy that owned the van. I worked with him briefly in radio and don’t have a high opinion of him. I figured I’d ignore the guy and still have a good time.
I sat at a table with a wedding photographer. I asked about horror stories he’s had, and he told me about people sweating and not realizing it. Also, a woman died in a drag race the week before her wedding. He found out when he saw the obituary in the paper. I asked if he still charged anything for having that day reserved.
“Oh, no,” he told me. “I even went to the funeral and brought flowers. But things do happen. Some couples break up a few days before the wedding.”
Later, Marilyn showed me a room her husband Bob — also a DJ — has filled with autographed memorabilia. He has a poster signed by U2 and sports memorabilia. I asked Bob later if he had met any famous people while DJing weddings. He laughed and said, “I was doing an event, and they asked if they could use my microphone. It was one of those Rancho Santa Fe parties. And it ended up being Sheryl Crow that came out. I didn’t ask her to sign anything. I thought it would be unprofessional.”
Marilyn had a couple of dogs running around. I overheard someone say, “Marilyn got her credo from one of her dogs. She always says, ‘If you don’t like it, sniff it, pee on it, and move on.’”
I noticed a woman making pottery and a few kids running around trying to find things in a treasure hunt.
I went over to grab a burger and realized that in Crest, it’s so hot that the cheese is already melted in the plastic. You don’t need to put it on the burger while it’s cooking. I couldn’t even figure out how to get the melted mess out of the wrapper and onto the patty.
Instead, I opted for a hot dog. Bob said, “These are mostly brats. I think there’s one token dog somewhere on the grill.” I found it, slathered it with mustard, and headed back inside.
I was looking at the living room wall, which had more records than I’ve ever seen. It was like being in a music store. When you’re a wedding DJ, you need a big collection.
There was another wedding DJ I ran into at this party. I asked him if he got sick of hearing the same old songs, like “Brown Eyed Girl.” He laughed and said you do get tired of some, adding, “I love classic rock and hard rock. But I just can’t stand Eric Clapton’s ‘Wonderful Tonight’ anymore.”
I asked what the most popular songs are at weddings and was told, “The ones that get people dancing: ‘The Slide,’ ‘Love Shack,’ ‘Mony, Mony,’ all those are popular.”
I met a guy that was a 6’4” cameraman. I assumed he filmed weddings, but he told me he worked for ABC. He had some great stories about dealing with editors taking out shots he really liked.
We ended up talking a lot about sports and writing. I asked him what he was doing in town, and he said he was here filming a reality show. I asked him what it was, and he said he wasn’t allowed to give the details.
After he left, along with the DJ I didn’t want to run into, I found out the reality show was about the DJ; because he has an interracial marriage and is involved in other activities, I can imagine it will be popular. And his goofy personality will fit in well with all those other reality-show stars.
Bob finally stopped cooking for a bit and sat down. I told him the mountain behind his house looked beautiful and that the slide he had going into his pool should go up the side of it. He said, “Yeah, I always said if I had a quarter million dollars I’d have a rock slide built on those mountains.”
He told me that he and Marilyn have been married for 20 years and that they own a production company.
She walked by singing along to a Sublime song — “…something for his punk ass…” — and went inside. She came back out and, well, she did have something: prizes for people who brought side dishes. Someone told me in the past she’s given away great things that are usually food-related, like cookbooks.
When she was going to hand out the first prize, I yelled out that it should be for the cupcakes a woman brought. She looked shocked. I think she was going to name another dish but decided to go with that one. I’m glad she did because the lady had made about 50 cupcakes, and they were all shaped like cheeseburgers. There was cake on top like a bun, and the yellow, red, and green that looked like condiments were different-flavored frostings. They were surrounded by long, thin sugar cookies that looked like french fries.
As I was heading out, Bob gave me a lemon that was the size of a pumpkin. He said, “We grow these here. It’s a nuclear lemon.”
I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I wanted to say, “Hey…if you want to get rid of any albums, I’d be glad to take some of those off your hands.”