My mom has the best whistle. Itís a legend in our family. And Iíve always seen it as a superpower, of sorts. Superman may be able to leap tall buildings, but my mother can make even the worst miscreant snap to attention. No one would dare ignore its shrill command to return to the house immediately, no matter how far they had wandered afield.
In fact, she may have missed her calling as a drill sergeant.
And youíd never want for a taxi in her presence. My parents, who both hail from the boroughs of New York, laugh that in their courting days, my mom would be the one to whistle for a cab while my dad stood at the curb pretending it was him.
I always thought that was a cute story, that he let her do the whistling when surely he could have done it himself.
Only, as it turns out, he couldnít have done it for himself. Because he canít whistle.
Learning this was rather a shocking discovery for me. Not only because, as anyone who knows my father can attest, the man can do anything. And heís good Ė no, brilliant Ė at everything he does. No, I was more flabbergasted that I hadnít been privy to this tidbit of information before.
You see, my father is not alone in his inability to produce a clear musical sound by the inhalation or exhalation of air through puckered lips. Ready for this? I canít whistle, either.
Iím not sure why that feels like a confession. Iíve already admitted it in print at least once.
I guess you could say it is one of my deepest, darkest, most poorly kept secrets. Iím not ashamed of it, per se. I just try not to mention it, because when I do, those finding out for the first time always feel the need to try to teach me. Like theyíll be the one that will finally be able to rectify my non-whistling ways.
Not gonna happen. I mean, if my mom Ė the whistling queen Ė couldnít teach me, Iím fairly sure itís hopeless.
Besides, I make do. I can produce a pretty convincing faux whistle. Which, according to my friends, I do quite often. Without realizing it.
And, apparently, itís quite irritating.
Donít worry, as soon as it was brought to my attention, I apologized profusely. Because I know how annoying incessant whistling can be. Although the cause of my frustration is that Iím convinced the perpetrator is whistling in my presence on purpose. You know, to rub it in?
As you can probably guess, Iíve been teased about my inability to whistle plenty. But recently I suffered what I considered to be a major affront.
The insult, and it was most assuredly an insult, came not from a person, but a baked good. Yes. A fortune cookie.
After an otherwise enjoyable meal at my favorite sushi buffet, I opened said cookie looking forward to sharing my post-dining fortune with my friend. But when I unfurled the little scrap of paper I found, not the usual cryptic words of wisdom, but the following words:
ďWhistle while you work.Ē
Now, I realize most people would have interpreted this as sage advice to enjoy their job. But for me, it was nothing short of a slap in the face.
I mean, itís not bad enough not to be able to whistle? I have to be mocked by a pale imitation of dessert?
As you can probably tell, Iím still bitter about the whole thing. Which, if Iím completely honest, actually took place a few months ago. Iím not sure if that really qualifies as ďrecent,Ē but itís certainly still fresh in my mind.
Iíve started to think, though, that maybe it was a sign. Maybe, after all these years, itís time for me to learn to whistle. In fact, it might be a good goal from my 36th year on this planet. Which, regrettably, will commence this weekend.
Hopefully, you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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