By David Moye
Pot brownies on a public bus, gay porn in the classroom and self-flagellation in the streets set the scene for an unforgettable twenty-and-a-dozen - a truly wacky year in the history of San Diego.
I can clearly see you’re nuts
Jason Russell of San Diego-based charity Invisible Children created “Kony 2012,” a viral video that garnered nearly 94 million YouTube views, raising worldwide awareness about Kony, a cruel Ugandan warlord. Russell got nearly that many hits again when a cell phone video of his naked, masturbatory rantings on the streets of Pacific Beach surfaced in March. Russell later told Oprah that the pressure of success had caused him to suffer “brief reactive psychosis,” brought on by massive media attention. The negative headlines temporarily hurt his cause, but Russell’s “touching” public display inspired “South Park” to take a whack at this fair city in a song titled “Jackin’ it in San Diego.” The ditty joins “I Love L.A.” and “New York, New York” in the pantheon of great city songs.
When the Chargers and Padres failed to live up to expectations, San Diego sports fans resorted to their own inventions, like Ultimate Tazer Ball (unveiled to the public in March), a sport created, in part, by Encinitas resident Leif Kellenberger. UTB combines soccer and rugby, only with bigger balls, in more ways than one: players tase rather than tackle each other. The sport has four “professional” teams, including the San Diego Spartans, and there are rumors of a TV deal with a major cable network.
In April, a Clairemont artist discovered how knit-picky city officials can be after he transformed 100 street signs into flowers using yarn and wire. The artist, a computer programmer known as “Bryan,” wanted to beautify the area, but officials ordered his creations removed because the crocheted leaves and stems qualified as vandalism. At least Bryan has a good yarn to tell his kids.
In May, a parolee without a plane ticket snuck past security at Lindbergh Field, boarding a United Airlines flight via an emergency fire door. The plane’s departure was delayed while TSA investigated, which likely took long enough for the guy to complete his purchases from Sky Mall.
In June, a group of 7th grade students in Paradise Hills attempted their own test on whether sexual orientation is innate by challenging each other to watch gay porn on their cell phones during English class. Whoever showed signs of arousal was labeled gay. The boys’ teacher, Eric Johnson, came under fire for not responding when other students complained (probably because he was too busy watching the TMZ clip of the Invisible Children guy playing with himself in Pacific Beach).
...And the rockets red blah
Organizers promised the July 4 fireworks show over San Diego Bay would be an epic, 18-minute salute to Old Glory. Instead, it was an epic failure resulting from a computer malfunction that caused everything to go up in smoke in 15 seconds, providing the biggest patriotic buzz-kill to hit the city since Roseanne butchered “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a Padres game.
Public transportation can be trippy, especially for three San Diego bus drivers who inadvertently ate pot brownies brought to work by another transit employee in August. The drivers pulled over when they realized the bumps in the road were actually in their heads. Officials later said the three had handled their unexpected highs appropriately. Some passengers were reportedly angry that no one offered to share.
In October, San Diego security firm HALO Corp. enlisted the help of legions of citizens portraying zombies in a training seminar aimed at teaching first responders and other emergency personnel how to handle a zombie outbreak or similar disaster. Of course, anyone who’s walked around Ocean Beach around weed harvest time knows where to find real zombies. (Spoiler alert: they smell like patchouli.)
There’s forgetful, and then there’s the person who left the cremains of a 90-something-year-old dead guy at an Ocean Beach car wash in October. The deceased, formerly known as Henry Lefebvre, died in Orange County in 1995. His final resting place was eventually reunited with a family member who didn’t explain why the dearly departed was riding around in a car.
David Moye is a staff writer for Huffington Post’s Weird News section, an occasional psychic and a regular contributor to PacificSD.
Sign up for the Pacific Insider newsletter
PACIFIC magazine delivers the latest restaurant and bar openings, festivals and top concerts, every Tuesday.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Pacific San Diego.