Buffett lyrics help tattoo shop win appeal vs. Key West

From the Palm Beach Post: “Cute or not, tattoos await tourists in Key West

Key West learned that lesson last week when a federal appeals court ruled that the city had no right to prevent a third tattoo parlor from opening in the town’s historic district.

Lawyers for Key West had argued that the First Amendment complaint raised by the tattoo parlor owner was not sufficient to overrule the city’s contention that tattoo parlors have an adverse effect on tourism.

They argued that “rash tourists will obtain regrettable tattoos, leading to negative association with Key West” and that this would hurt the city’s reputation as a vacation destination.

Lacking actual data to support that argument, the city cited the lyrics to the song, “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett.

The song’s narrator sings of his perpetual state of inebriation, which has not only caused him to lose his salt shaker, but also end up with “nothing to show but this brand new tattoo.” How it got there? He hasn’t a clue.

The lawyers said that actual tourists coming to Key West might have a similar experience, after wrapping up a night of drinking on Duval Street at a tattoo parlor. Especially if there are three, not two tattoo parlors, available.

But the appeals court wasn’t biting, choosing instead to interpret the Buffett lyrics in a way that didn’t support their argument.

“The singer in ‘Margaritaville’—seemingly far from suffering embarrassment over his tattoo—considers it ‘a real beauty.’” the judges wrote. Not to mention “a Mexican cutie,” I might add.