Paul Wahler is not a Parrothead.
“My wife and I listen to his CDs, but we aren’t fanatics,” says the general manager of Poolservice Co. in Arlington, Va. “I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen Buffett in concert. There may have been shows in the ’70s, but the details are kind of hazy,” he jokes.
For Wahler, the appeal of Buffett lies more in what he does when he’s not writing music or touring.
No doubt Buffett works hard, but Wahler takes his attitude on leisure to heart. Having been to the Caribbean several times for vacation and dealer trips, Wahler can relate to Buffett’s affinity for the islands.
“It’s not so much his wealth I envy,” Wahler says. “It’s the things it allows him to do and the places he can go.”
Buffett spends much of his time outfitted in Hawaiian shirts and relaxing in places such as Key West, Fla., and St. Barts, where he owns a home. “I see pools all the time,” Wahler explains. “One day it would be nice to be [someplace] where there’s water that’s not in a pool, and sand instead of a concrete deck.”
But Buffett’s preferred method of island hopping is what truly makes him an idol to Wahler.
“I really wish I had the time and money to learn to fly a small plane like Jimmy Buffett does,” he says. “Especially the fact that he has a seaplane — if St. Barts gets tiresome, he can hop over to another Key. The idea of being the romantic adventurer [appeals to me].”
Wahler has a few years until retirement, but says if the economy improves by then, he may make that dream a reality.
He’ll leave Buffett’s other accomplishments — such as the highly successful Margaritaville restaurants and branded products (shrimp, tequila and footwear among them) — to the superstar. “It’s inspiring that he’s not strictly a musician, but has also ventured into all these other areas,” Wahler adds.
Perhaps Buffett’s next venture should be in the pool industry. According to Wahler, he’d fit right in.
“This is a recreation product and there are a lot of people in the industry with that relaxed attitude and an interest in the outdoor lifestyle,” he says, noting that he works with more than a few Parrotheads on a regular basis. “There are a lot of people in the pool business who could wear their work clothes to the beach and not be out of place, and a lot of stiffs in offices can’t do that.”