We’d like to thank Tim Wood for the following story.
It was Labor Day Weekend 2011 and I was enjoying the holiday in Charleston, SC. I probably enjoyed it a little too much considering my hazy state of mind while I sat at Baked (bakery/coffee shop) that Monday morning. I was seated a booth and, based on the conversation at the table behind me, I surmised it was a father and his two sons eating together. I really didn’t pay it too much attention.
We happened to exit the bakery at about the same time; they were walking out ahead of me. I took notice of the father because he was wearing full jean overalls, a white t-shirt, and a woven Vietnamese rice farmer’s hat hanging around his neck, which blocked the view of his head from behind.
Now I remember immediately thinking this was odd, particularly there in the rather southern-preppie town of Charleston. I curiously followed them through the door out front and watched as the two boys began unlocking their bikes from a light post on East Bay Street. The father walked around to the opposite side of his bike and was now looking at me face to face. There he was… Bill Fucking Murray.
I think it is important to add that I have seen everything that this man has ever done. I have a copy of The Razor’s Edge on VHS locked in my desk drawer. I grew up with Bill. I watched him on SNL at age six and I credit him with whatever sense of humor and comedic timing that I have ever displayed. But I digress.
I stood there staring at him in disbelief and he could sense it. Might have been all of the red wine the night before, but I couldn’t think of a thing to say to him. I reached in to my pocket as he began unlocking his bike and pulled out my Blackberry. (Here is another dose of irony to the story – the password on my Blackberry was Zissou.)
I wanted to ask for a picture, but I balked. I knew he was there with his sons and I just could not bring myself to be that intrusive. I respect the man too much to interfere with the normalcy he was trying to achieve by riding his bike to breakfast with his boys.
So I stood there on the sidewalk, five feet away and completely dumbfounded. He finished unlocking his bike, stood back up, and positioned the hat on top of his head. At that last second, I remembered the interview in GQ Magazine with Bill that had come out just a month earlier – the story about him walking up behind people and covering their eyes with his hands.
He threw his leg over his bike, looked me right in the eye, and waved at me while saying “helloooo” as if to test whether I was going to come out of my trance. I finally broke my silence and said, “no one will ever believe me”. He reared back his head and let out a “HAAA!” Then he rode off with his boys, down the cobblestone streets of Charleston.