An Apology to Bill Murray

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By Helen Mitternight

If you live in Charleston, stalking Bill Murray is like stalking a shy, wild creature. You want to be cool about it and coax cooperation, and then you get your reward: a selfie, a wild tale, a memory.

I did it all wrong. And an apology is owed.

But first, let’s talk clothes.

I was invited to a party that was in honor of a new publication, Whalebone, from a city far from ours that had an issue honoring our own Bill Murray. The party was at the Riverdogs game in the posh club atop the ballpark. There were no directions about what to wear, leading to the internal debate: wear something suitable for a rainy day at the ballpark, or wear something suitably glamorous for a club party with a possible celeb sighting?

The nearly 200 guests at the party seemed to divide into two camps: the tight-jeans with a cute, complicated top; or the form-fitting dress that revealed lots of leg, back or cleavage (never all at once; this is Charleston, after all). All agreed that the heels should be high.

That was the women. The men seemed to fall into either the rumpled-I’m-just-here-with-her category or the I’m-wearing-shrunken-European-cut-clothes category.

I chose a long skirt and a loose t-shirt. And tennies. I was working this party for Grit readers, and I had no time for impractical glamour.

After nearly four hours of the party, I had greeted everyone I knew many times, watched a Riverdogs male fan dressed like Wonder Woman in the stands just beneath the club, who seemed to be having more fun than any of the partygoers, and was starting to think I had to get home and let my dogs out.

And, like any wildlife sighting, just when you are about to give up hope, the unicorn appears.

Bill Murray, in the flesh and in the room.

He greeted a small group of women and, in my best Hollywood paparazzi moment, I cued my photographer and stood, poised for that perfect quote.

And, that’s when it all went wrong.

Bill Murray stopped his conversation and pointed to my photographer.

“Who is that guy? He didn’t even introduce himself. Neither did you. Is that your boyfriend, your husband? That’s not cool. People don’t behave that way in real life.”

And then he threatened to leave. Since he was the whole point of the party, that would have been very bad indeed.

I signaled my photographer to cool it, mumbled an apology, and slunk out the door.

So, let me add a real apology.

Bill Murray, I am sorry. I was just excited. I thought you knew this was an event covered by the press. I thought you knew that none of us would have been there if you weren’t the promised draw.

If this were Groundhog Day, I’d get a do-over. But I’ll have to settle for an apology.

I’m sorry.