Tom Petty And The Traveling Wilburys Talk About Top Hats, Tummy Aches And Tater Tots

traveling wilburys

One of my favorite stories I ever wrote on this website is entitled “Tom Petty and the Traveling Wilburys Talk About Tugboats, Tom Thumb and the Terrible Twos.” In it I thought it would be fun to imagine Tom Petty standing at a podium in his basement talking to the rest of the Traveling Wilburys, who are seated on the floor in front of him, about odd topics – just to see what their reactions might be. Tom Petty is the straight man, at wit’s end, trying to get the other Wilburys to take the meeting seriously. A few days ago, I got inspired to write a second installment to my original story (set one week later). I have always been a fan of Tom Petty, and the Traveling Wilburys. I was just putting the final edits on it when I learned of his heart attack and eventual death. Because it is such an absurd piece, without a shred of truth in it, I considered not posting it. But then I thought what better way to honor someone who has given so much to the music world than by posting a story that’s not about him, but because of him. These two stories would not exist if it weren’t for Tom, George, Jeff, Bob and Roy getting together in the 80s to make great music. Rest in peace, Tom Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017). I now present, “Tom Petty and the Traveling Wilburys Talk About Top Hats, Tummy Aches and Tater Tots.”

Tom Petty:

Dudes, it’s so awesome seeing all your bright shiny faces. I appreciate you coming over.

Jeff Lynne:

No problem, Tom. We love hanging out in your basement.

George Harrison:

Yeah, it’s really neat down here!

Tom Petty:

Thanks, George. I’m glad you like it. Hey, Roy, do you mind reading the minutes from last week’s meeting before we get into today’s topics?

Roy Orbison:

Sure, Tom. I’ll do anything for that pretty woman over there. Is she your girlfriend?

Tom Petty:

No, Roy. That’s my Farrah Fawcett poster. It’s been hanging there since the Carter administration. Are you sure you don’t want to take your sunglasses off so you can see better?

Roy Orbison:

No, I’ll be okay, Tom. She sure is pretty though, ain’t she?

Tom Petty:

Something tells me you want to sing her a song, Roy.

Roy Orbison:

Can I, Tom?

Tom Petty:

Sure, Roy.

Roy Orbison:

Nah, I’m okay.

Bob Dylan:

I betcha fifty bucks I know what song you wanted to sing, Roy!

Roy Orbison:

Okay, you’re on, Bob.

Bob Dylan:

I’m on what?

Roy Orbison:

No, you’re on…meaning I’ll take you up on your bet.

Bob Dylan:

No, that’s not the song, Roy. Here’s your fifty bucks.

Roy Orbison:

No, Bob. You don’t owe me fifty bucks…I mean…never mind!

Tom Petty:

Fellas, fellas. Can we please get back to last week’s minutes?

Roy Orbison:

Sure, Tom. You started off the meeting by talking about tugboats. You indicated that they have an interesting history that dates back to 1803 on the River Carron in Scotland. George interrupted you because he was excited that tugboats had their start in the United Kingdom.

George Harrison:

You would’ve done the same thing, Roy, if someone told you that tugboats came from Vernon, Texas.

Roy Orbison:

Leave my hometown out of this, George!

George Harrison:

You started it, Roy! You’re just jealous because tugboats were started in Great Britain. You always think you’re cooler than the rest of us. Look at me guys, I’m big, bad Roy Orbison. I wear sunglasses indoors!

Roy Orbison:

Tom, you better tell young George here to watch his mouth or I’ll wash it out with soap. You got soap here, right Tom?

Tom Petty:

Fellas, fellas. Nobody’s jealous of each other here. And, Roy?

Roy Orbison:

Yes, Tom?

Tom Petty:

Leave my soap out of this. It’s Irish Spring and you know how sensitive our two English friends are.

George Harrison and Jeff Lynne:

Watch it, Tom! No need to bring politics into this. One more crack like that and you can kiss the Traveling Wilburys goodbye!

Bob Dylan:

Goodbye? We just got here!

George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty:

SHUT UP, BOB!

Bob Dylan:

No, that’s not it either. I’d give you fifty bucks, but I gave all my money to Roy there.

Tom Petty:

Oh, sweet Moses! George, Jeff – I was only kidding. Roy, give Bob his fifty bucks back and hurry up with the minutes. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover tonight, boys.

Roy Orbison:

Sure thing, Tom. After tugboats you taught us about Tom Thumb. I’m not even going to bring up that George nearly wet his pants when you told us that Tom Thumb was published in England, but he did nearly wet his pants, and I feel obligated to let you know because you asked me to read the minutes.

Tom Petty:

Yes, we all remember that, Roy. And thank you, George, for not going ballistic on Roy for refreshing our memories.

George Harrison:

My pleasure, Tom. And, Roy?

Roy Orbison:

Yes, George?

George Harrison:

Eat my grits.

Roy Orbison:

Did you hear that, Tom? He insulted me. Like Flo used to say to Mel on that hit TV show from the 70s called Alice. From where I come from, those are fightin’ words!

Tom Petty:

Those are fightin’ words from where everyone comes from, Roy. George, why’d you have to go and insult Roy like that?

George Harrison:

I didn’t. I really do have a bowl of grits here and I was merely offering Roy some.

Tom Petty:

Well, will you look at that? Where in the hell did you get grits, George?

George Harrison:

I brought them from home. I rarely go anywhere without my grits.

Tom Petty:

Since when?

George Harrison:

Okay, I lied. Mostly I rarely go anywhere without my Cocoa Puffs. Today I just so happened to bring grits. Do you want to eat my grits, Roy?

Roy Orbison:

I’ll pass. But thanks for offering them to me, George.

Tom Petty:

You guys are driving me nuts! I think we ought to forget the rest of the minutes and just dive into this week’s topics.

Bob Dylan:

I second that motion, Tom.

Tom Petty:

I would’ve never expected such a normal response to come out of your mouth, Bob. Thank you for whatever just happened there.

Bob Dylan:

I like Diana Ross, Tom.

Tom Petty:

That’s nice, Bob. Can I continue with today’s topics?

Bob Dylan:

Ten-four good buddy!

Tom Petty:

Thanks, Bob. Are you guys familiar with top hats?

Jeff Lynne:

Top Hats rule, Tom.

Tom Petty:

They are quite amazing, aren’t they?

Bob Dylan:

Ten-four good buddy!

Tom Petty:

Do you have a problem, Bob?

Bob Dylan:

Ten-four good buddy!

Tom Petty:

Oy vey. Fellas, where was I?

George Harrison:

A few seconds ago, you were over there. But then Bob kept saying ten-four good buddy, so you moved a couple of feet closer to Bob like you wanted to strangle him. Then you thought twice about it before moving back closer to where you were. Then you said, “oy vey.” Since when do you speak Spanish, Tom?

Tom Petty:

Thanks for the instant replay, George. By the way, oy vey is Yiddish. What I meant was, what was I talking about?

Bob Dylan:

Tater tots.

Tom Petty:

I was not talking about tater tots, Bob. I can talk about tater tots, but not until after top hats and tummy aches, which is number 2 on the list.

George Harrison:

Can you order a pizza, Tom? All this talk about tater tots is making me hungry!

Tom Petty:

WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT TATER TOTS! I want to talk about top hats and tummy aches!

George Harrison:

But top hats don’t make me hungry. And tummy aches make my stomach hurt. Tater tots make me hungry. Better order that pizza, Tom, before you have a mutiny on your hands.

Tom Petty:

I called you all here so I can talk about TOP HATS, and by golly I’m gonna talk about TOP HATS!

George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison:

PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA! PIZZA!

Tom Petty:

FINE! But this is the last time I’m having you clowns over!

George Harrison:

Tom?

Tom Petty:

Yes, George?

George Harrison:

Do you think we can have some tater tots with our pizza?

Tom Petty:

Forgive me, Lord, for what I am about to do.

(uproarious laughter)

Jeff Lynne:

Hey, Tom?

Tom Petty:

Yes, Jeff?

Jeff Lynne:

How come we never talk about tycoons?

George Harrison:

Tom doesn’t want to talk about typhoons. Typhoons are dangerous, Jeff.

Jeff Lynne:

Ty-coons, George! Not typhoons. TYCOONS!

Bod Dylan:

Are tycoons related to racoons, Jeff?

Jeff Lynne:

No, Bob. Tycoons are not related to racoons.

Bob Dylan:

Are you sure, Jeff? I once met a guy named Ty. Not sure if his last name was Coons, or if he had a relative named Ra, but I’m guessing he must’ve since his first name was Ty.

Jeff Lynne:

Oy vey.

Bob Dylan:

Hey guys, Jeff knows Spanish, too!

Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and Roy Orbison:

Oy vey is YIDDISH, Bob!

Bob Dylan:

Is that anywhere near Minnesota?

George Harrison:

Did someone say soda? Hey, Tom?

Tom Petty:

Yes, George, so help me God?

George Harrison:

When we talk about typhoons next week, can we get some soda?

Roy Orbison:

That’s it, I’m outta here!

Tom Petty:

Where you goin’, Roy?

Roy Orbison:

Anywhere but here. Maybe I’ll call Springsteen.

Tom Petty:

Okay. Tell him I said hi.

George Harrison:

Hey, Tom?

Tom Petty:

Yes, George?

George Harrison:

I love you.

Tom Petty:

I love you, too, George.

George Harrison:

And I love you, Jeff.

Jeff Lynn:

I love you, too, George.

George Harrison:

And I love you, Bob. Bob?

Bob Dylan:

Come to think of it, Ty’s last name might’ve been Ler.

Tom Petty:

Guys, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

George Harrison:

That depends on whether or not you’re thinking of banana peels. Are you thinking of banana peels, Tom?

Bob Dylan:

I’m thinking of a word that is bigger than a breadbox, but smaller than a…no, wait…I don’t know what I’m thinking of. I like bagpipes. And jelly donuts. But I wasn’t thinking of them until you got me to thinking. Thanks for getting me to think about what I wasn’t thinking about, George.

Jeff Lynne:

Tom?

Tom Petty:

Yes, Jeff?

Jeff Lynne:

I’m thinking we should see what Springsteen is up to.

Tom Petty:

Way ahead of you, Jeff. Way ahead of you.

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