Marti's Theory

Lost in Translation

Posted on: October 16, 2014

I actually wrote this in 2005, but it just came up in conversation on Facebook, so I hunted it down on a now defunct blog and copy/pasted it over here.  Didn’t edit; just copied.  I love this goofy man and yes, this happened:

Okay, I’ve got a story – this happened a couple of years ago, in the Kahului Safeway.

I was standing in line to have my groceries checked, sort of biding my time, privately zoning out, when I could sense that the person behind me seemed to want my attention. Know how you can just feel it when someone wants into your space? I could peripherally see that there was a man behind me, looking back and forth between the tabloids and me. He was about three inches farther into the zone that is universally declared as MINE than I cared to have him. Finally, he spoke.

“So…do you think this stuff is true?” He spoke in the halting voice of someone who might be a little slow or at very least undereducated. Normally I’m a very friendly person, but on that day, I just didn’t want to deal with it. Without making eye contact, I politely mumbled something about not believing anything those papers wrote. I glanced at the tabloid, which had a photo of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.

A few seconds passed. I could tell he was still looking at me.

Him: “You know, I used to work for them.”
Me: “Oh, that’s interesting.” Said nicely and warmly but still no eye contact
Him: “Yeah, they had a place on Kauai.”
Me: “Did they?”
Him: “Yeah. I was their gardener!”

He said this with such pride that I was moved to turn around and be warm and decent to this poor person. “Wow, that’s neat,” I said as I turned to smile directly into a pair of very familiar twinkling blue eyes and ornery smirk. (Holy shit, it’s Bill Murray). Without missing a beat, I turned back around and continued to stack my groceries on the conveyor. He helped. No further eye contact on my part while I thought it through.

“Yeah,” said I rather maternally, “you’ve gotta really be careful about believing what you read in those things.”

Gardener Bill: “Really? Isn’t it true?”

Me: “No. They’re really mean to celebrities.” We pause again, each person plotting his next move. Okay, I’ve got it.

Me again: “But you know who they really, really go after?”

Gardener Bill, seriously wondering: “Uh…athletes?”

“No…”

(Question mark hangs in the air)

Me, slowly, after a deliberate pause: “Comedians.”

And the game began.

For the next ten minutes we played a cat and mouse game (not sure who was whom) with Bill trying to make me acknowledge who he was and that I liked him and me absolutely refusing the bait. I rattled off his whole life history practically (not to mention that of his brother Brian – I mean, Bill Murray is my all time favorite twisted brain idol – I LOVE him and know practically all there is to know about him). Yet it was just in matter-of-fact conversation, without me ever looking directly at him again or acknowledging that I had ever heard of Bill Murray. I talked about the first SNL season and said “I’ll tell you who my favorite was–” and he’d cut me off, asking expectantly, “Bill Murray??? Is your favorite Bill Murray??? I really like him!!” And I’d just shake my head like, no…don’t seem remember him. I referenced Second City, bit players from his movies, I even picked up a disposable Gillette from the impulse rack and mumbled something about the Razor’s Edge (ouch). And each time he’d expectantly ask, “Wasn’t BILL MURRAY in that??” It was so much fun.

This continued through the store, out to the parking lot and all the way to my car. For a moment, I thought he was going to actually get in (what fun that would have been). Until finally I had to drive away. My last image of him was standing in the Safeway parking lot, waving goodbye with an exaggerated sad face.

I’m thinking of this because I just watched Lost in Translation for the third time. And each time I see it, I love it more. Why do I absolutely love that movie so much? It also caused me to realize that many of my ‘keeper’ movies have him in it – What About Bob? Groundhog Day, Rushmore, A Life Aquatic…never made the Murray connection before.

I guess some twisted brains age really, really well. And his continues to be my favorite, in fact more so than ever.

o-LOST-IN-TRANSLATION-facebook

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1 Response to "Lost in Translation"

Delightful! Sounds like you have the iron will to DO comedy, Marti! I probably would have cracked. ❤ ❤ ❤

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