The 90s were a fun time to grow up in. Tamagotchi were all the rage, the music was great and the hairdos were horrible. I often make use of my new verizon plans to take frequent trips down memory lane. I listen to Incubus albums and watch movies with CGI so horrible it looks funny. There is something so nostalgic about sights and sounds from your childhood that it often jogs loose other memories.
This happened to me when I was recently watching the first Ghostbusters movie (1984) and saw my favorite Ghostbuster. I remembered my very brief encounter with the man who played Dr Peter Venkman, Bill Murray. If you don’t know who Bill Murray is, shame on you. In the immortal words of Tallahassee from Zombieland; “That’s like asking who Gandhi is!”
However, I understand that some of you may not be familiar why Bill Murray is so beloved by my generation. So I’m going to bring you up to speed with some of the anecdotes people have shared about the man. Here we go:
· In 2016 he threw 3 cellphones belonging to some overeager fans off the roof of a restaurant. However, being the gentleman that he is, he offered to replace all three phones.
· Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon described the moment he saw Bill Murray dancing in the crowd at their concert. He called it “one of the highlights in my career” in 2014.
· Also in 2014, Murray crashed a random wedding. He ended up giving some excellent advice to the groom which unfortunately cannot be printed here. But the video is up on Youtube for everyone to see.
· Again in 2014, he was spotted in a random couple’s engagement photoshoot. A class act!
· In 2010 he became an impromptu bartender at SXSW and served tequila regardless of what was ordered.
· Circa Christmas 2010, he held up a Starbucks line by insisting the barista add a little whiskey to his coffee. Bill succeeded and left the barista a $10 tip for his Irish coffee.
· He once joined in a group playing kickball in New York and ended up assisting a goal. The video later went viral on Tumblr.
· In 2006, while in Scotland for a celebrity golf tournament, he went with some young women to a house party. He ended up taking on the huge washing-up pile in their sink.
· He has been spotted numerous times riding a child’s bike while wearing his well-used Ghostbuster costume. Or at least a heavily used fireman’s suit with an oxygen tank.
· Last summer a man tweeted a picture of Bill Murray casually stealing a French fry off his friend’s plate. Needless to say, the picture went viral
· He is known for giving strange autographs. A particular one from the 80’s goes “Brush your teeth, don’t hitchhike – Bill Murray”.
My Encounter with Bill Murray
Now that I have given you a rough profile of the quirky and lovably eccentric celebrity, it’s time to tell you my anecdote. I had always been a fan of the Ghostbuster movies. Considering my fear of monsters and ghosts when I was young, Bill was all I wanted to be. Who didn’t want to suit up in that outfit, strap on a proton packand go show those ghosts a thing or two. Bill and the other Ghostbusters became wildly popular among my generations.
In fact, I went dressed up as Murray’s character Peter Venkman to no less than four consecutive Halloweens. Why did we like Murray so much? It’s hard to say. Is it his goofy antics? His perfectly timed punchlines? His unreadable poker face? I think it’s all three. I was at a baseball game in St. Louis, Missouri sometime in the early 90’s.
I remember it was a hot summer day and I was drinking a soda that was too large for my eight year old hands. Somehow or the other I dropped the soda and most of it landed on a guy sitting in the bleachers below me. I was scared I’d catch it from the guy and my parents right up until the guy turned around. It was Bill Murray! My eight year old self had come face-to-face with a real life, if slightly bedraggled Ghostbuster!
He was annoyed at first definitely. But when he saw the look in my eyes he shrugged, wiped his face and handed me his own soda. Dumbstruck, I took it with shaking hands while my parents were prompting me to apologize. I managed to choke out a little “ sorry, thanks” before I was overwhelmed by the moment. Bill looked at me, winked, ruffled my hair and said “No one will ever believe you”. I later found out this is one of Bill’s classic lines when he interacts with normal people.
When it comes to Bill Murray, everything strains belief. I know some of you may or may not believe this and that’s fine by me. What matters is I got to meet my childhood hero in real life. And now, I’m going to offer my lecture on teaching English in Japan, then i have to find a channel that only shows movies from my childhood. Maybe there’s another celebrity encounter hiding in my childhood waiting to be jogged loose.