"One time the hindquarter tumbled onto the beach as I was removing the meal for 150 people. Once it hits the sand, you can't just wipe it off."
I was invited to a pig roast that has a website devoted to the event. Bruce Dahl's website has stories posted from past parties, which he has been hosting each year for the past 14 years. During his first party, the police were called to investigate the bones that were thrown in the garbage. The bones ended up on the beach at Crown Point the next day. Dahl told me, "We clean up everything. So, either seagulls took them out of the trash, or a transient. I once saw a bird drag off a five-pound bag of tortilla chips... The bones wouldn't have been a problem for them." The police concluded that they were human bones, and the story was all over the news for a few days.
Dahl told me of another disaster: "One time the hindquarter tumbled onto the beach as I was removing the meal for 150 people. Once it hits the sand, you can't just wipe it off. I passed around a shaker of sand for those who were lucky enough not to get any grains in their meat."
After another of Dahl's parties, for a Raiders/Chargers game, coals were put in the Dumpster. I told Dahl how idiotic I thought that was. "No. It was 20 hours later. That's why we thought it was safe. And the Dumpster still caught fire. I wondered if it was a curse, or is it me?"
I read on Dahl's website that, besides pig, he's grilled goat, lamb, whole tuna, and shark. PETA must love this guy.
Dahl had an area staked out at Crown Point for this year's roast. I spoke to him as he was cooking. He told me that he had made the oven and showed me how it catches all the grease. I asked him how early he got to the beach. "We got here at 5:00 a.m. We spent all our time cleaning up other people's messes from last night."
I was handed stickers with a picture of a pig on them that read "What a Pig." Some of Dahl's guests brought him pig-related gifts. He promptly put a pig key chain onto his key ring.
When I told him how funny I thought the stories on his website were, he shared another story about smuggling pigs across the border. "That was before Operation Gatekeeper built this big fence. Once a Border Patrol agent stopped me. Trying to be cooperative, I quickly asked if he would like to see what was in the back of the truck. He looked and turned real pale, put his hand over his mouth, and ran to the radio. He said, '10-4, pig for BBQ,' and quickly roared away. After that encounter, all our pork comes from the good ol' USA."
I went to sit in the shade of one of Dahl's canopies. Dahl said, "We've had it hail on us a few different times. This is perfect weather."
I talked to a woman named Jaclyn, a bartender from O.B. She told me about her son who skateboards with a crew that jumps off picnic tables. I can't figure out how their boards - or their tailbones - don't snap in half when they land on the pavement.
When Dahl finished roasting the pig I heard him say, "We're going to carve it on that other table. Watch out for seagull shit." That whetted my appetite. (I'm not a pig lover anyway.) I ate the watermelon, which was soaking in champagne. The only way I'll eat fruit is if it's covered in booze or chocolate.
The guy carving the pig was wearing a sticker that read "Designated Volunteer." Dahl, who was a bit buzzed, was telling everyone to go get food. I heard him yell at a woman, "I cook for you. I clean for you. I laugh at your silly little jokes." He said to a guy in his 80s, "Go get food. I'll save your place here in the shade."
One lady told Dahl she thought the Mickey Mouse plates were cute. He bellowed, "It's a pig's face, not Mickey Mouse!"
I asked Bruce why he does this on Sunday. "My good friend is a bartender and works on Saturday. I have all kinds of friends here, from 8 to 80 years old. Sunday afternoon works best for most."
People at the party were playing horseshoes, tossing Frisbees, and throwing the pigskin. One table had a group smoking cigars. I went over and lit one up.
I met a woman with a British accent who works at Shakespeare Pub in Mission Hills. I told her I ate my worst meal ever there. She laughed, but I wondered why I felt the need to tell her that.
I overheard a couple talking about a secretary who was suing a company, claiming they didn't hire her because of her weight. They spent the next 20 minutes talking about lawsuits, including the San Diego man who sued Hooters for only hiring females to wait tables.
I talked to a naval intelligence officer who met his wife on a ski trip. She had an accent, but I forgot where she told me she was from. He was bald, and I asked him if he uses sunscreen for his head. He said, "I use 30 SPF."
There was a pig piñata hanging from a tree. The kids were whacking it, and one guy said to me, "Those kids are in for a big surprise. There's no candy inside. It's all little bottles of booze and prizes for adults." I was bummed out. I would rather have had candy. I asked if the bottles would break and Dahl said, "Most of them are made of plastic now." When the piñata broke, so did about ten bottles. Everyone got on the ground to pick up broken glass. One guy was grabbing bottles, opening them, and downing the booze. I later saw him walk into a canopy pole.
I spoke to a woman named Tamara whose car had been totaled the night before by a drunk driver. I asked her what had happened. "A driver rammed into my parked car. I didn't hear it all, but neighbors came out. I saw my car was totaled. As people gathered around, I said, 'Let's have a crash party.'"
Tamara told me that her husband was in Singapore helping tsunami victims. She said, "He wasn't too happy about the car. He was yelling on the phone."
I was surprised when she told me that she graduated from Mira Mesa High one year after me. We spent the next hour talking about mutual friends.
I figured Dahl wouldn't consider this party a disaster. Nobody sliced off a toe on the broken glass, the cops didn't show up, and the pig never hit the ground.
Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.