Gnosticism and Polynesian Motifs

I don’t understand why it is that I like waiting rooms so much. Maybe it’s because I’m not expected to do anything when I’m in them. It could also have something to do with the story told to me by a guy who did twenty-five years for killing his wife in a jealous rage. He became a busker when he got out of jail, and when I stumbled back from the bar one night, drunk on tequila, he waved me over and played me a song by Jimmy Buffett. Until this night, I wasn’t sure if Buffett was pronounced buh–fey, as in a meal consisting of several dishes from which guests serve themselves, or if it was pronounced buh-fit, as in to strike with the hand or fist.

Did you know that Jimmy writes books? He’s written thirty of them, and they’re mostly about ships and pirates. I bet great flocks of flamingos paint the skies of his novels pink, although I can’t say for sure if they do, because I’ve yet to read him. It just seems to me like something he might do. This isn’t because flamingos are tropical clichés that signify Jimmy’s own clichédness. For the record, I don’t think he’s cliché at all. Quite the opposite, actually. I mean, how many other rock stars have managed to pull off the regular guy thing? That said, I bet he’s far from a regular guy…I’m convinced he’s a visitor from another world. I feel like he retreats to the gated sanctuary of his villa at the end of his tours and there, in a tiki-themed grotto, he transforms into a Lovecraftian monster who’s fond of Gnosticism and Polynesian motifs. Perhaps he looks a bit like Cthulhu, with a margarita in one hand and a Cuban cigar in the other. This, of course, would explain the great flocks of flamingos that paint the skies of his novels pink. They’re such creepy birds. How they became clichés, I’ll never know.

“Cheeseburger in paradise. Heaven on earth with an onion slice. Not too particular, not too precise. I’m just a cheeseburger in paradise,” sang the busker, before he set his guitar down and told me the story of his friend, who died and found himself sitting beside some other dead guy, in a waiting room. After a few awkward minutes of silence, the busker’s friend asked the other dead guy how long he had been waiting, but he didn’t know. Nor did he know how long he had been dead for. The only thing he positively knew, was that the busker’s friend was not supposed to be there, so he said as much, at which point the busker’s friend found himself back on the pavement, beside a crumpled car, staring up into the face of a paramedic.

That was the end of the story, and as I contemplated the historical transgressions of the busker’s hands, he picked his guitar back up and played me a spirited version of Margaritaville.


4 thoughts on “Gnosticism and Polynesian Motifs

  1. By a Tin Hats’ coincidence last night I was reading about Hemingway’s house and cats in the Keys. The guy used to live there and he starts recalling how Buffett played in some of the bars in Key West before he was famous. The really interesting thing, to me anyway, was Buffett was brought to Key West by Jerry Jeff Walker and through that connection Buffet began to play and write music in Key West. The rest is history. I wonder if Buffett’s bar survived this most recent hurricane? I heard the cats did fine. Nice story and a perfect contribution to Tin Hats. Wife killers, drunks, cliches that are not cliches, and people waiting for indeterminate periods of time for unknown reasons…sort of a Beckett kind of thing.

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  2. Jimmy Buffet(t) has always interested me because he’s greater than the sum of his parts, as it were. It’s the ‘third entity’ thing I suppose, that Springsteen talks about. Like I said to Jan, now I have to read one of his books.


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