Ode to Billy Joe

Due to a risotto mishap, a few mornings ago I was unable to use my kettle. Well, I could have used it, but I would have had to have first scrubbed it, and I was in no mood for labor. So I walked up to the Target, where there’s a Starbucks.

I went in and was promptly stopped by an employee. I couldn’t get what she said, because of the mask and all. She was polite, but her words definitely had a “go away” vibe to them. Which was fine; there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts up the street, too.

But I try to lift my fog of incomprehension when I can, so I asked her to repeat herself. She said her spiel again, and I finally understood: it was vulnerable guests hour. I walked up to the Dunkin’ Donuts, pleased to have impressed yet another lady with my invulnerable physique.


I found myself thinking about that curious trio of words. I’d not ever heard their combination before. Sounds like an Arctic Monkeys EP, no? But it isn’t, so I’ve requisitioned it for my fantasy band. It shall be our live album, the one where, for an encore, we tear up “Honky Tonk Heroes.” I bet its writer would approve of Vulnerable Guests Hour. That guy had a way with words. Indeed, it was his charm that persuaded Waylon Jennings to give the song a shot:

The story goes that Jennings had promised Billy Joe Shaver, then an unknown songwriter from Texas, that he’d do a full album of Shaver’s songs… But everyone agrees that, after Jennings forgot about the promise and blew Shaver off, Shaver showed up at the studio one night and threatened to beat him up. “Waylon, you said you were going to do a whole album of my songs,” Shaver writes in Honky Tonk Hero. “I’ve got those songs, and you’re going to listen to them—or I’m going to kick your [hindquarters] right here in front of God and everybody.”