My mom has the best whistle. It’s a legend in our family. And I’ve 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 you’d 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 couldn’t have done it for himself. Because he can’t 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 he’s good – no, brilliant – at everything he does. No, I was more flabbergasted that I hadn’t 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 can’t whistle, either.