No, this isn’t about how billionaire, Warren would invest your money, but rather about another Buffett, one who has a decent net worth himself – somewhere north of $450 million – and invests so little in his concert attire that he doesn’t even wear shoes. Yes, I’m talking about Jimmy.
I got a chance to see Mr. Buffett for the umpteenth time two weeks ago in the Hollywood Bowl and once again came away totally entertained by this man whose voice has been likened to that of a carnival barker. So what is the attraction you ask? A little history is probably in order . . .
I was turned on to Buffett’s music by my late, great best friend, Don Klapperich, back in the 80s when he was in Saudi Arabia, and prior to the common use of the Internet, we regularly communicated by exchanging cassette tapes filled with music and patter. Like most casual fans of music, I was familiar with the songs Margaritaville and Come Monday, but probably couldn’t have told you who sang them. Don sent me a Buffett song called Somewhere Over China, a song with interesting lyrics that I asked him about, which apparently was his cue to start sending me more Buffett. He did, and implored me to listen to the philosophical lyrics.
Philosophical lyrics?!! To me, and perhaps to most casual fan of Jimmy, philosophy and Buffett didn’t seem to go together – what deep meaning or life lesson was I supposed to garner from “wastin’ away again in Margaritaville” or “having a cheeseburger in paradise”? But between the songs Don sent me and the ones I subsequently purchased, I started to learn and appreciate the ‘Buffett philosophy’. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s no Confucius or Descartes, but he is a fairly accomplished individual.
At 68, Jimmy not only still plays over 20 U.S. concert dates and several foreign locales each summer, but he is the head of a juggernaut business enterprise. He has turned the brand ‘Margaritaville’ into resorts, casinos, restaurants, clothing and record labels, tequila and more. You can thank Jimmy if you’re ever had a Landshark Beer in a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant. He’s written numerous books and appears frequently on TV and in movies, and does a ton of charity work. He’s a veteran pilot who occasionally ‘buzzes’ his concert parking lots, which are filled with partying Parrotheads, prior to his concerts in his seaplane, the ‘Hemisphere Dancer’.
So here’s a primer of his philosophy from the songs and books of this Renaissance man . . .
On a general philosophy of life . . .
“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party. ”
On staying young and living life in the ‘now’ and not worrying about how you’re thought of after you die . . .
“I’m growing older, but not up, my metabolic rate is pleasantly stuck, let those winds of time blow over my head, I’d rather die while I’m living than live when I’m dead”
On self-inspection . . .
“We are the people our parents warned us about”
On keeping a good attitude when life brings changes . . .
“It’s those changes in attitudes, changes in latitudes, nothing remains quite the same. For all of our running and all of our cunning, if we couldn’t laugh and if we weren’t all crazy, we would all go insane”
On being in the right place with the wrong person . . .
On birthdays . . .
“It’s just another trip around the sun”
On why you should travel . . .
“You do it for the stories you can tell”
On looking back at a full life . . .
“Through 86 years of perpetual motion, if he likes you he’ll smile and he’ll say, some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic, but I had a good life all the way.
On rationalizing a drink before the cocktail hour . . .
“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere”
From the mouth of Buffett . . .
“We’re all somewhere over China, heading east or heading west.”
“Yes I am a pirate, 200 years too late.”
“If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me.”
I will admit that most of his philosophical stuff gives way to Fins, Cheeseburgers, Volcanos and Margaritas during his concerts, and that’s OK, as having a good time is a very big part of Buffett’s philosophy, but in a rare quiet moment, I still enjoy putting in an old cassette tape and listening to Don introduce a philosophical Buffett song.