Getting Wasted in Margaritaville

photo courtesy of Savannah Morning News via Latitude Margaritaville

When it comes to dead-end hedonism, I’m not one to wag my trembling finger at those Boomers who have opted to spend the twilight of their lives playing pickle ball, riding from bar to bar on golfcarts, or listening to classic rock on what they wished might be a never-ending loop.[1] In other words, I’d be a hypocrite to diss the 55-plus crowd who have decided to purchase expanded dorm suites in the Jimmy Buffet-themed retirement community of Margaritaville.

After all, nearly every afternoon, I shuffle down to Chico Feo to bask in its Caribbean vibe and consume two or three session IPAs (on Monday open mic night maybe six or even seven).  I will say, however, that Chico provides much more diversity than Margaritaville (which you can read about in this New Yorker article).

For one thing, Chico offers a range of ages, from minors unsuccessfully trying to pass off fake IDs, to surfer dudes with their bronze tans, bleached hair, and intricate tattoos; to middle-aged Folly denizens; to tourists, who come in all ages, shapes, and sizes; and finally, to codgers like I-and-I with, if not one foot in the grave, a big toe testing the temperature of the down below.[2]

Chico Feo in the Morning, collage by Wesley Moore (for sale to a hip family)

Obviously, Margaritaville also lacks economic diversity, which Chico possesses in spades. Economic diversity, I might add, enriches those of us who hang with the day-to-day strugglers, which for many years I counted myself as one. Dishwashers and house painters don’t share their First World irritations but tend to embrace the swirling eddies of day-to-day existence where the future exists merely as tomorrow’s sunrise. 

Blind Willie McTell’s dishwasher never went on the fritz, which brings to mind that American musical culture comes to us from the bottom up, from Mississippi Delta shacks and hillbilly hovels, not from the gated communities where Bennington Rhodes is unsuccessfully attempting to tune his brand-new Stratocaster. 

Of course, Margaritaville has its share of house cleaners and maintenance workers, but they’re unlikely to be swapping tales with the parrot-shirted McSweenys, who have forsaken the high taxes of the Delaware for sunny, low-tax Daytona Beach.

Chico also possesses a modicum of racial diversity, and once again, I can’t imagine that many African Americans admire Jimmy Buffett’s meld of country and calypso.[3]  

A bright lightbulb just flashed on above my fedora: Some enterprising entrepreneurs should come up with a retirement community based on Willie Dixon’s music. I might seriously consider moving to Wang-Dang-Doodleville:

Tell fats and washboard sam
That everybody’s gonna jam
Just shake it boxcar joe
We got sawdust on the floor
Tell chicken head till I die
We’re gonna have a time
When the fish head fills the air
Be snuff juice everywhere
We’re gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long


[1] I suspect that Eric Burdon and War’s cover of “Mother Earth”: isn’t on the playlist:

Mother Earth is waitin’ for you, yes she is.
She is big and she’s round,
And it’s cold way down in the ground.

[2] They say teaching high school keeps you young because you spend many of your days with adolescents. I think this is true to an extent. Also, you don’t know how close I came to mixing metaphors with that sentence.

[3] Nor am I fan, except for his early album A-I-A.

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