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Folks, I’m just about as embarrassed as a poodle that done fell into a pig pen.

First of all, if y’all ain’t never heard of me, I’m Billy Ray Cyrus. Your grandmama might remember me from my 1992 number one smash single “Achy Breaky Heart.” You might remember me as the daddy of Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus. And your dope-smokin’ teenage nephew Kevin knows me as the goddamn lucky sonofabitch who was asked to sing along with Lil Nas X on the Grammy Award-winning “Old Town Road.” I still don’t know how I got that gig.

Anyway, seems like I may owe everybody an apology. See, I’m the one that probably caused the Wuhan coronavirus that the World Health Organization has declared “a public health emergency of international concern.”

Now before you get all hot under the collar, I need you to know that I don’t normally go around creatin’ or spreadin’ diseases that could grow to pandemic-proportions and potentially kill hundreds of thousands of human beings. I’m just a good ol’ boy from Flatwoods, Kentucky, who just likes strummin’ his guitar, fishin’ at my favorite swimmin’ hole on Sunday afternoons, and tradin’ exotic monkeys on the internet.

Now you see, I had this here exotic monkey (name was “Ross”)—and oh my lord, was he funny. He was one of them “Capuchins”... you know, like the one in that Raiders of the Lost Ark movie or David Schwimmer’s pet in Friends? (That’s why I named him “Ross”!) OHHHH, he got into everything! Bananas, crackers, cookies... why he even got into the viral pathogen experiments I got goin’ on down in the basement. Just a side hobby... y’know... like the monkeys.

Anyways, in retrospect? Maybe I shouldn’t-a traded Ross for that Yangtze alligator (Alligator sinensis)—but are you kidding me? Maaaaaan, you can’t find them in a Louisiana swamp! Them gators only live in the outskirts of Beijing and are extremely RARE, son! And sure, I’ll also admit that Ross was feeling a bit under the weather (barking cough, yellow discharge from the eyeballs, occasional retching) when I shipped him off to Wuhan. But I specifically told that buyer to quarantine that monkey on the off-chance that Ross could have a highly pathogenic influenza virus that could eventually mutate and “species jump” via mammalian transmission. I MEAN, WHAT ELSE WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?

Now I ain’t tryin’ to get out of it. Just like I always told Miley: “Girl, you gotta own your shit.” So... fine. I accept my responsibility in possibly bringin’ about the human pandemic known as the 2019-nCoV or “novel coronavirus.” I apologize, I’m sorry, and I’d appreciate it if y’all would grant me some privacy in this time of personal tragedy.

Oh! But if any of y’all run into Lil Nas X, could you please ask him to get in touch? I got me an idea for a rappy version of “Achy Breaky Heart,” and he ain’t returnin’ my calls.