All North Korea ever needed was a little ‘Margaritaville’

Margaritaville: The Cookbook

Filled with recipes that bring the flavor of island living and the spirit of Jim

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I’ve never sought to become a world traveler. Quite frankly, my backyard is one of my favorite travel destinations. It doesn’t take me very long to get there, and I’ve got a nice view of the wooded land behind me. Best of all, it’s extremely cheap. Sometimes my wife even cuts me a deal and only charges me $5 to visit.

Until 2011, my only excursions out of the country were a night in Windsor, Canada, during a weeklong work trip to Detroit and a few alien abductions. I don’t even count those because technically we may still have been in U.S. Airspace. It’s hard to tell when you’re in the experimentation lab — whose services, by the way, are apparently considered by my insurance company to be “out of network.”

But in 2011 my boss told me I needed to get a passport.

“Sure,” I said. “Where am I going? Paris? Rome? Hatchechubbee?”

“No. North Korea.”

I was to report on a project started by some peace-loving folks to foster better relations between our nations through a community-building project. I was perfectly fine with that. My boss had been there a few times and had no problems. My soon-to-be wife, however, was concerned that my smart-aleck mouth just might land me in some communist work camp. I assured her that I wouldn’t say anything to anger anyone.

“In fact,” I told her, “I’m just going there to sing.”

“Um, you can’t sing.”

“Totally beside the point. And hurtful, by the way.”

Few people know this, but Jimmy Buffett taught me how to play guitar. Even Jimmy doesn’t know he taught me how to play guitar. But a few chord charts and a lot of Buffett tunes did the trick. My plan to bring peace to the Koreas was to film myself playing and singing “Margaritaville” in Pyongyang. I don’t think anyone has ever done that, and it would bring attention to the project — and probably land me in a communist work camp.

A few weeks later, though, fun-loving Kim Jong Il died and the project was put on indefinite hold when his idiot son took over. To this date, there’s no Margaritaville in North Korea — which is surprising since there are about as many Margaritavilles in the world today as there are Starbucks. Or is that Starbuckses? Or Starbuxes?

I’ve since been able to use my passport a good bit, but I haven’t bothered to perform “Margaritaville” in Africa, Central America or Hatchechubbee. I figure those places have enough issues without the caterwauling president of the Possum Holler Parrothead Club.

I still think North Korea could use a little Margaritaville — or at least a Sport Clips. They take life way too seriously, even if they are a bit carefree with their hairstyles. If Kim Jong Un would spend a little time in Margaritaville, he might be happier nibblin’ on sponge cake than uranium cake. Instead of firing off missiles, he could be firing up the frozen concoction maker.

I’m sorry that I didn’t get to visit North Korea and solve this problem through the power of Jimmy Buffett. Of course, if relations keep wastin’ away between Pyongyang and Washington, we may not be singing Jimmy’s songs, but we’ll likely be drinking a whole lot of his tequila.

To order Chris Johnson’s latest book, “Wastin’ Away on Margaritahill,” visit

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Margaritaville: The Cookbook

Filled with recipes that bring the flavor of island living and the spirit of Jim