Word of Mind, Word of Mouth

You know how to whistle, don’t you?

Special to The CambrianMarch 28, 2014 

Do you know what I’ve really liked about some genres of contemporary music? Whistling! Yes, whistling. Granted, Bobby McFerrin probably sparked it back in 1988 with his hit song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” but I seem to notice it more in the last few years.

This idea probably came to me because there I was, whistling away (my mother said I could whistle before I could talk), when I realized there was something very important I’d failed to accomplish and was starting to get knots in my tummy. Belting out another little tune from my lips, I began to feel better (“be happy …”).

One of the things I think that makes these songs so easy to listen to, be it The Black Key’s “Tighten Up,” Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” or good old Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay,” the sound just lightens your heart, doesn’t it? Really, listen to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, “Home” and, yes, it’s a catchy tune, but the whistling adds so much to it.

What makes a good whistling song? Like one you can sing, a tune should be within your range, not too many highs, not too many lows. Ever tried our national anthem? Difficult. But, even if you don’t know a tune, just coming up with your own mindless tuneful wandering makes you feel a little lighter on your feet. Really!

Deep stuff, eh? This is what more often than not happens when you realize you’ve missed your drop-dead deadline and decide to just throw something, anything out of a dusty corner of the desktop in your head. Perhaps you’ve been wondering if there was a possibility of making the small nugget of a thought into something worth reading.

And then your realize, “Mmmm, no.” But, you never have the heart to throw away that fern that still has one almost-green leaf on it, or those shoes that are mostly still intact and likewise a littlest spark of creative thought is admittedly shuffled to the bottom of the stack but it is allowed to live there in the remote possibility that it will amount to something, anything. Maybe I’d better play “Home” again.

Or, “Me and Julio Down by the School Yard.” Love that Paul Simon song. Actually, OK, how many of you know the name of the “Andy Griffith Show” theme song? ALL TIME best whistling song in my book. May go to when no other song to whistle comes to mind. “The Fishing Hole.” Look up the lyrics some time or, better yet, Andy singing the words himself. Cute.

And so, whistling … where was I going with this? How about here: I had a friend who had a brother I’d never met, with developmental disabilities. I guess he couldn’t whistle, so if he wanted to issue the wolf call (you know, like in the cartoons when a pretty girl walked by?) he’d just yell, “Wooot, Wooo!” Works.

Well, perhaps you try it, to lighten your load and maybe even the load of someone within earshot. Can’t tell you how many times I used to get comments like that when I cleaned houses years ago.

Yep, “Whistle While You Work.”

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at ltd@ladytiedi.com, or visit her website at www.ladytiedi.com.

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