Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wally the Bunkey
(Part bunny, part monkey) 

One head light, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

Olympic gold medal ice dancer, Meryl Davis, won “Dancing with the Stars.” In an equally shocking result, air won “The Best Thing to Breathe” contest.

The NFL is being sued by former players for illegally giving them prescription pain-killers; upon hearing this, the Cleveland Browns fans are suing the NFL for not giving them pain-killers. 

A study says Florida is the most dangerous state for pedestrians. It would have been California, but all the pedestrians they tried to survey had been run over and killed.

A new study of online dating profiles showed men have more success when they use the phrase, “physically fit.” Women have more success when they use the phrase; “I’m not a cop.”


See? Just saying it is fun. What do you think of when you hear the word party? Me? Music, laughter, drinks, dancing, grilling, pretty women, cool dudes, red plastic cups, laughing kids, a barking dog, candles. Never have liked the use of party as a verb. It goes too well with dude.

Bill Murray’s secret? He lives life like it is a party. David Letterman says of Murray; “He’s always inviting me to a party.”

As a former kind-of neighbor of Murray, I think I can shed some insight into how Bill Murray lives his life like a party.

Like all times and all high schools, New Trier East and Loyola – the private Catholic high school where Bill went – in the Seventies were fueled and driven by kids trying as hard as they can to be cool. Trying to be cool is, besides school and sports, your main job.

There are many factors in being cool, how you look, how you dress, how well you do in sports, how well you do in school and how well you do with the opposite sex.

Let’s use a guy dancing as a device to show just how hard it is to be cool. If you don’t dance at all, that is not cool, but neither is dancing too much. Dance badly? Not cool, but way cooler than dancing too well. See how tricky this cool thing is?

A giant yardstick to measure how cool you were in high school were your parties. Did you have them? Did people go? Did the cool kids go? Were they fun? Did they have booze and possibly other stuff? But not too much. 

Having a mansion to throw the party in could be a plus, or it could backfire badly in that people think you’re a rich spoiled brat.

Bill Murray, I surmise, threw a lot of parties, because his younger brother John, who was my friend, threw a lot of parties. And they weren’t fancy, the Murray’s were rich in siblings and sense of humor only. (The brother and sister infested house in opening scenes of “Caddy Shack” was exactly like their house)

Me? Throwing a party was sort of a sticking point in my coolness. Later in college I threw some good parties, but never in high school. It made me nervous just to think of throwing a party. What if nobody came? What if stuff got wrecked?

The good news is I got invited to and attended pretty much all of the cool parties. Well, not the intimate parties of the super cool kid’s basements, but most of them. Did I do well in sports? Big yes. Did I do well with pretty girls? A yes. Did I do well in school and throw rocking parties? That is a big non-check.

Like Bill before him, John Murray was a good athlete – he made the “A” football team as a freshman. He was good looking, but not a pretty boy and he did OK in school. But his popularity was off the charts. Why? He was funny as hell and he threw a mean-ass party.

Same thing with Bill, I would, again, surmise.

When something is a giant badge of honor when you are 17, it stays with you for life. Being the life of the party is such a badge for Bill Murray.

(Although I will say my one experience of being in a bar with Bill Murray was not warm and fuzzy. It was my intention to go up to him and inquire about John, but he seemed very wary and aloof to strangers, so I begged off. This was in Venice Beach, CA around 1986 and he was wildly post-“Ghostbusters” famous)

You know the phrase all’s well that ends well? That was the case with me and high school parties. All of us helped my buddy, Woodie, throw a party the night of graduation and it was THE party to attend. We were turning away cool kids.

But nobody has partied better or longer than Bill Murray. In “Stripes’ when he offers to party with Lee Harvey? That goof-ball Lee just lights up at the thought.

My buddy, John Murray in the movie "Scrooged."