Bill Murray Dissed Me and Broke My Grandad’s Water Ski

We’d like to thank Jamie Kane for today’s story.

My aunt Jill dated Bill Murray in high school. I knew this growing up, and like everyone, I was a huge Bill Murray fan. Whenever we were all quoting classic movie lines on the playground, I’d bring this up – but it didn’t buy me much street cred because, at the time, I was 10. One summer around 1984, I was up at my Grandparent’s summer home in Green Lake, Wisconsin and my aunt Jill happened to be visiting. I was at the local golf course hitting golf balls on the driving range, and Jill pulls up and asks me if I want to go meet Bill Murray. I’m all in.

Bill’s mom had a house on the same lake, and my aunt explained on the drive that we were actually going there to recover a water ski that had been borrowed earlier that week by the Murray brothers. The reason why I was going to finally meet Bill Murray made no difference to 5th grade me.

We arrived at Mrs. Murray’s house and parked the car. We walked around the house and out onto a huge lawn towards Green Lake. About 100 yards away, I saw him playing ball with his son Homer (I think Homer’s middle name is “Banks” after Ernie Banks). As aunt Jill and I walked across this giant lawn, I was getting progressively more nervous to meet him. When we got to him, he gave my aunt a hug and then he turned to me, trademark grin.

Aunt Jill: “Bill, I’d like you to meet my nephew Jamie”

Bill Murray (shaking the outstretched hand of a dumbstruck kid):

“What kind of a name is “Jamie” for a guy?”

Decades later, still not over it, turns out that he and his brothers had actually somehow broken the water ski they had borrowed from our boat house (how do you break a water ski?) Bill had to come back to the house with us (after stopping at the liquor/ski store in town) and explain everything to my Granddad – who he had, years before, met while picking my aunt up for the prom. My Granddad Jack Thomas was not impressed either time.

It was worth it watching him squirm through a few innings of a Cubs game with my Granddad and me after dissing the name “Jamie”. Our families’ favorite autograph, which he gave one of my many cousins that afternoon, was:

“Brush your teeth, and don’t hitchhike… Bill Murray”

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