by Mike Lunsford, editor
You put your hands over your head, making a simulated shark fin. As the song proceeds and Mr. Buffett states “fins to the left,” you tilt your pseudo-fin to the left. As the song goes “fins to the right,” you follow the instruction to the right. “You’re the only bait in town,” is sung and you go back and forth to the beat of the song. If you were unfamiliar with this particular song, this might be intimidating. Luckily, Parrot Heads (what Jimmy Buffett fans refer to themselves proudly as) are an inclusive bunch. They will gladly teach you (my wife taught me before the show so I didn’t look like a n00b).
Now, for those of you who are…picky about your music, Jimmy Buffett is probably not cool enough for you. He writes songs that are easily sung along to, and often are not going to require a great deal of thought. In fact, if you admit to those music-phile friends of yours that you like Buffett’s tropical, flip-flop inspired, “beach music” you might be shunned and laughed out of the room. However, those who judge you for your musical leanings are missing an important factor: how much fun it truly is to go one of his shows.
We who exist in this geek-pop culture realm are familiar with this sort of judgement: “you read a lot of comics? You play D & D? You’re a gamer? What a nerd!” Now, this judgement may be a thing of the past, but our world is inclusive…or at least it should be. Parrot Heads are inclusive. They’re willing to teach you the moves, teach you the words, and above all else, they LOVE sharing their world with you. There’s cosplay at Buffett shows. There’s parties, drinking, tailgating, and above all else, a camaraderie that bridges political affiliations, generations, race, and gender. All are welcome at a Jimmy Buffett concert. All are welcome at Comic-Con. All are welcome at the comic shop. Don’t you love when you see little kids dressed up as their favorite characters? How is singing along to a song that you know all the words to different than quoting Captain America’s speech to Spider-Man from Civil War? The answer is: they’re not.
Now…just as we all know “that guy” at Con, there was outliers at the Buffett show who didn’t imbue the spirit of the show. You get the angry drunks who try to start fights or scream and flip the bird in the parking lot. Just like you have guys who make fun of cosplayers who may not be in perfect shape; there’s ALWAYS going to be some jerk who doesn’t get it. How should you respond? By reminding them why we’re all here. What the spirit is…what it should be… is something that shouldn’t be instilled in others with fists or screams of outrage. Just like the drunken woman who tripped over a man in the grass and then blamed him for her tripping: laugh it off. Remind them why we’re all here. If they want to get increasingly violent (which when dealing with alcohol, can happen), you can’t control that. However, your community of like-minded event-goers will often self-police this. I’ve seen it at Comic-Con and now I’ve seen it at a Jimmy Buffett concert, too.
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