Pine Nuts: The art of whistling
While waiting in line for a lift ticket this past winter I passed the time by whistling, “Born to Lose.”
I don’t know why I was whistling that particular Ray Charles song, though I’m sure a psychiatrist could tell me. Be that as it may, a mother and young son were walking by when the little guy asked, “Mom, why is that man whistling?”
“Because he’s happy, Honey,” she answered with a smile.
Wow! I thought, What a good answer. Of course I was whistling because I was happy, not because I’m a born loser. So, anyways, I thought I’d do a little rooting around to learn more about the art of whistling …
I was surprised to discover there is a site on the internet that actually teaches you how to whistle in a complete step by step guide. It requires downloading an app however, so that’s where I “drawed out” as we say in Nevada.
At first blush there are several kinds of whistling. “Whistling in the wind,” is more like wishing, as in, “You can go home and whistle for that raise.” Whereas “whistling past the graveyard,” is more like, “I ain’t scared.” And “not whistling Dixie,” infers someone is not kidding and means business. But I’m more interested in whistling with the lips.
So I listened to the top fifteen whistling tunes of all time, according to Rolling Stone, and offered a deep “I’m Not Worthy” bow to Bobby McFerrin for, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” along with a nod to the Bangles’, “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
I confess I’m a stump-tail whistler, and perhaps, just want to know, like Maya Angelou, why the caged bird whistles.
I particularly like this youngster’s take on whistling, “After you see lightning you start to whistle and listen for the thunder. If you don’t hear the thunder, well then you got hit, so never mind.”
Then there is a book by Claude Steele, “Whistling Vivaldi,” in which Steele focuses on the effects of stereotyping as it relates to performance. (In full disclosure I have not read this book and probably won’t, but I do like the title.)
As to superstitions, some people in Estonia believe that whistling out of doors is normal, but to whistle indoors is to set the house on fire. That’s why I don’t whistle in the kitchen anymore.
As to the history of whistling, well, Adam was the first to whistle (I’m making this up) when he first saw Eve, which was probably followed by, “Wow, you from a rib?!”
My final analysis is, whistling cuts down on your doctor bills, keeps you from sourin’ and adds extra happy years onto your life.
I have set a goal for myself, to practice my whistling and win the International Whistler’s Competition in North Carolina this summer. And what tune do you suppose I’m going to whistle? You guessed it, “Born to Lose,” of course …
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User