If you've been tuned in to the current media cycle, Jimmy Buffett took a nasty spill this week while performing in Sydney, Australia. Watching the video is baffling. It appears Buffett carelessly strolled off the front of the stage and into the photo pit. Of course, it may not be so baffling considering the hitmaker's age (64). The incident had the appearance of an escaped geriatric patient stepping onto a busy freeway.
Thankfully, it's being reported he has since been released from the hospital with no apparent permanent damage. A doctor in the audience who witnessed the fall said he heard a loud crack as Buffett hit the floor and initially thought the the man from Margaritaville had broken his neck.
Anyone who has cared for an elderly parent or grandparent knows there comes a time when the child has to exert his authority in the interest of safety. "No, Grandma, you can't take the car out. You lost your vision 20 years ago, and you're half-insane." "Grandpa, I know you want to use the power saw to cut up a little firewood, but you can barely lift a gallon of milk from the top shelf of the fridge."
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Maybe the good people of Australia and the rest of the world don't have the same relationship with Buffett as they do their own family, but no doubt a bond has been forged from countless sessions spent listening to "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise." Shouldn't there come a time when fans draw a line between the insatiable desire to relive the soundtracks of their youth and the health and safety of those who deliver these golden oldies ages after they have lost their luster?
More to the point, when do we tell our aging fleet of rock stars to stand down and actually live that life they've been singing about for the past three decades? In the case of another band from the convalescent set, the Rolling Stones, there doesn't appear to be any calls for their resignation, despite the fact they haven't produced any decent material in decades. They, like Buffett, make a fortune recycling the same material night after night for nostaligc old geezers willing and able to shell out huge chunks of cash for front-row seats at some corporate- sponsored stadium or amphitheater. In defense of the Stones, they may actually be über- sophisticated cyborgs, which would explain their lifelong intake of nicotine, booze and mind-altering substances and simultaneous evasion of the Grim Reaper.
But physical longevity aside, whatever happened to going out on a high note à la George Costanza? In the case of Buffett, it looks like he's going to rock until either the wheels fall off the car or he falls off another stage.