13
Jul
21

Whatever happened to whistling?

As I walked into the restroom at the Denver Convention Center the other day, I was whistling. 

“You just put your lips together and blow!”

To my best recollection, the tune was Phil Collins’ I Can’t Dance… the most recent song playing on my car’s radio when I parked it in the parking garage. 

For me, whistling is a very common practice. That is probably because I was raised by a father who whistled all the time. In fact, one of the skills dad was most proud of was his ability to whistle harmonically… that is, to whistle two different notes at the same time. Had it existed at the time, I am sure he could have competed on America’s Got Talent and received at least one “YES” vote from Howie Mandel.

Dad whistled songs. He whistled random notes in sequence. He summoned us home from playing with the neighbors with a jaunty little six-note tune of his own devising. 

As I said, whistling was a regular part of my growing up years.

But I discovered – shortly after walking into that convention center restroom – that I must be very much alone in my acceptance of whistling. Heads turned from urinals toward me as I entered… clearly unsettled by the sound emanating from my pursed lips. Reading the gazes, I saw uncertainty… discomfort… wariness. 

Apparently,” I thought, “Whistling is not the friendly, happy-go-lucky thing to these guys that it is to me.” And so, not wanting to be the source of distress in the middle of everyone’s private moment, I stopped.

The more I thought about it later, the more it dawned on me; I really don’t hear much whistling anymore. 

Out there on the street, folks have their ear buds in, listening to whatever. Or else they are walking along pondering the meaning of life, reviewing their grocery list, reliving last night’s difficult dinner conversation, or daydreaming about winning the lottery. 

ANYTHING but whistling.

What about you? Do you whistle? If not, what is your opinion of people who do? Do you agree that whistling has gone the way of the eight-track tape and rabbit ears on the TV? And if so, why do you suppose that is?

That’s it. Nothing theological or particularly deep today. Just one of those, “Things that make you go, ‘Hmmmm.’”

Blessings;


5 Responses to “Whatever happened to whistling?”


  1. July 15, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    My dad whistled often, and I was proud of my whistling as a kid and as a young man. But now? Oddly enough, no, I rarely seem to do it anymore. Hmm.

  2. July 17, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    For years, the only person I’ve heard whistle is a Facility Tech at our church. When he’s focused on a complex repair task and in what he calls his “zone” he starts whistling without realizing he is doing it. I like his whistling because it signals that he has identified a solution to the problem and is putting his solution in place. Sometimes, I hum, but I don’t whistle, probably because I find it difficult.

    • July 20, 2021 at 5:14 pm

      That’s interesting. As a person who has grown up with whistling, I had not ever considered it a “skill” particularly. If it is not a part of your background, I can see how it might be a challenge. Thanks for chiming in on this somewhat trivial topic.

  3. July 21, 2021 at 1:33 am

    My guys both whistle, and I sing and hum while I shop or walk.


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