Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow! Please…

whistle2

Red Skelton and fellow whistlers 

There is a memory that resonates from my childhood. It is a sound so delightful in its simplicity and one that I personally strived for hours to produce. It is a magical sound that could turn heads with its type of call. This sound could trigger a reaction instantaneously. It is precariously on the edge of extinction and yet no one seems to notice or care. Please! I beg you to do something about the fate of the whistle before it’s forever silenced.

Oh sure you can still hear it at sporting events, concerts, and an occasional graduation; meaning – “Thank the Lord! Whew, that was close!”

We used to rely on the whistle’s intonations for communication long before the invention of the cell phone or telephone for that matter. It could mean, “Hey! I’m over here!” or “Honey, you are one hot smokin’ babe!” or “EVERYBODY, SHUT UP!”

Its imminent demise is obvious when looking up the “meaning of whistleblowing.” The Free Dictionary states, and I quote: Whistleblower n. One who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to those in positions of authority.

What? I was looking up the nuances in whistles. Soon no one will know the difference between a “Hey! How are yah!” and a “cat call.”

 Whistle3

A tutorial, although the guy on the right may be snorting

Long before the I-pod, whistling was the fastest way to reproduce the latest hit tune. I noticed the first signs of discontent when my children were living at home. I would happily whistle in my kitchen and could feel their glaring eyes since the shrill sound interfered with the tonal quality of their headsets. They would storm off to their rooms to switch out their earbuds for noise cancelling headphones.

I grew up in simpler times, when the only television programs worth watching started at 7:00 in the evening.  When we were bored during a long hot summer afternoon, my friends and I would whistle to call to a confused bird who hoped for a mid-day quickie. This nasty trick worked best on cardinals. They seemed to fall prey to our adolescent hijinks more often than the other birds. I often wondered if they just didn’t hear as well or if they were the horniest species around. They would call back in response flying closer and closer, only to realize it was a stupid human producing the intoxicating siren call and not a voluptuous feathered friend.

There are many ways to produce the sound. The most common way to whistle is to purse your lips making a little “o”, suck in your cheeks, and blow. Pressing your thumb and forefinger together and putting them in your mouth has been known to produce a piercing whistle that could leave an unsuspecting listener with hearing damage. See warnings below. There is also the two fisted approach where the whistler takes their index fingers and hooks them into the corners of their mouth creating a wind tunnel effect, but operator misuse has also been known to misfire a saliva ball.

whislingirls

Years ago, my friend Lori taught me a new technique

I found these warnings in Wikipedia:

If you find you can whistle really loud, refrain from doing so in someone’s ear. It generally is not appreciated, because it tends to hurt.

Sometimes you may find yourself short of breath after whistling loudly or for a long time.

You may feel wheezy after whistling/practicing for too long. 

When your lips are chapped/dry, whistling might cause them to split further. That hurts like a… witch, so you’re advised to not try it when this is the case (chapstick will help). 

Learning to whistle when I was growing up was a rite of passage along with tying my shoes and riding a bike. Now it has been replaced by learning to text and tweet on a multicolored and sometimes bedazzled cell phone. When children are trying to get each other’s attention, now all they have to do is dig their cell phone out from under the juice box in their Harry Potter backpack and text the kid in front of them, “Dude, slow down! : P”

When trying to get a teenager to come out of their slovenly bedroom for dinner the whistle has been replaced by a text from mom or dad.

The family dog may be the only stronghold to the whistle’s complete demise. Only they seem unphased by recent technological advancements. By using any of the above techniques, not only will one find the results quite favorable, but you may also obtain a positive response from the neighbor’s dog.

Soon no one will remember what a whistle was used for. It will become an ancient artifact along with the VCR, cassette tapes, and the rotary telephone.

I beg of you please consider this request. Set your phone down, put your lips together, and blow!

Do you still whistle?

The most famous whistle  – a must see!
3rd photo by S. Lindau the rest by Google 
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40 Comments

Filed under Humor, Life

40 responses to “Just Put Your Lips Together and Blow! Please…

  1. I never could whistle! I tried and tried and tried as a kid, but I just couldn’t get it! (I can only snap my fingers on my left hand, as well, and then not using the “correct” fingers, so I guess I’m just weird that way!) My Dad, however, was a whistling ACE! We kids could hear him from 3 blocks away, after we had ignored Mom’s dinner bell! We knew then we better get home NOW or there would be trouble!
    Love the blog party concept, and I can’t wait to “meet” a bunch of new and fabulous blogsters!

    Like

    • Whistling isn’t easy! I learned through hours of pursing my lips and trying hard to make any sound. It took a long time. My dad was an amazing whistler as well.
      Thanks so much for coming by! I will look forward to reading your link on June 6th!

      Like

  2. NicolaB

    I thought this was a great post! Can’t see why it wouldn’t have gotten a good response the first time. I love whistling! I’m not good at it, but it doesn’t stop me. I remember when I was little, and I got all my friends to teach me how to whistle. And it hasn’t gone too extinct! It featured in a film that I love: August Rush! Check it out some time; it’ll make you smile. :)

    Like

    • I haven’t seen that film and will check it out. I am glad to here that you are stilling hearing the sound of whistling! It used to be so common back in the day, but by a lot of responses, many never learned!
      Thanks so much for coming by today!

      Like

  3. LOL. Ok, I was thinking about all sorts of non-obvious content for this title but I had even got to whistling. I remember playing soccer with this guy that want us all to whistle and not call for the ball. Thankfully half the team couldn’t whistle so we dumped the idea. I mean, have you ever seen footballers whistling to each other? It’s not a pretty sight.

    Good laugh.

    Cheers!

    Like

  4. It saddens me. The demise of the whistle. I spent years practicing as a child but am still an amature at best. I will never forget the first time I got whistled at . . . . Still makes me smile.

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  5. Amazing how sometimes really great post are underappreciated…this was great. I can’t whistle…at least not well but I may start practising now.

    Like

  6. What a great post! Wow! Your writing leaves me a little breathless, Susie… otherwise, I’d give you a little whistle! :)

    You do know how to whistle, don’t you honey? *wink*

    Like

  7. Ha! I used to avoid certain streets when I was younger because there were those older pervs whistling at the high school girls. It would totally gross me out. Now with two kids the only whistling I hear is during a ball game. Sometimes I get a stare or the double-take, no whistle. But I’m o.k. with that. :)

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  8. You might be pleased to know that a whistle appears in the “litely” read post I’ll link on your party post page. I used to have an assistant (a young woman well under 30) that was a whistler. It was an anemic warble that drove me crazy — nothing like Bogey’s tribute to Bacall — more like a tone-deaf robin.

    Like

  9. This is an awesome post and I love that video, what a husky voice.

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  10. Susie! I read the comments and laughed. Why? Because I was doing what everyone else suggests they did while reading your blog. Whistling. Or, in my case, attempting to whistle.

    I thought I had a chance. I thought I could cross this one off my bucket list. But, no.

    I’ll live to whistle another day. Great way to celebrate your one year anniversary! Congratulations! I’m going to offer up one of my early offerings on my blog. It’s from back-in-the-day when writing a blog article filled me with dread similar to the word “synopsis.” And, I am a confirmed synopsiphobic. Ask any of my friends who’ve heard me whine about it.

    Like

  11. lynnkelleyauthor

    I can barely whistle. I tried a few times while reading this post. I still suck at whistling. You’re right, though, Susie, we can’t let the art of whistling become a thing of the past. Yay for you writing this post! LOL!

    Like

  12. This is one of the most interesting posts I’ve read…because it brought to mind something I wasn’t even aware of. You’re right, you don’t hear whistling much anymore. I never could whistle. Just tried again right now, using Lori’s technique. Almost got a sustained sound. Scared the cat. I’ll stick to clapping in the audience.

    Like

  13. I have never been a good whistler. I can make a little tiny tweet out of the side of my mouth. One of my daughter’s is a really good whistler… that annoys me. I used to work with a guy who whistled the same Jethro Tull tune all the time… I wanted to strangle him! I am now practicing Boggie’s whistle… if only Lauren were here.

    Like

    • Boggie has the best whistle! I love whistling and my dad can still do all kinds of bird whistles. I never got that dexterous, but still have fun with a bird once in a while.
      Thanks for stopping by to read Ted!

      Like

  14. I learned to whistle early on and, my specialty, I could whistle blowing in and out…so, I could breathe while I continued whistling!
    Take a look at this one. My very first blog post. This was several years ago. Since then, I have restarted and put it all back together differently. I just thought I would let you see how it all started:

    http://wp.me/pIYiO-1

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  15. Bahaha the whole bird confusion thing had me LOL at work. Terrible. Sadly I cannot whistle but I agree that the nuances are slowly going away. Any whistle could be offensive. Oh the Future….

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  16. Pingback: Use Me and Abuse Me Day! | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  17. Brandon Scott

    I’m sad to say, I can’t whistle. I’ve tried ever since I was a kid but I could never get it. Occasionally a little whistle would come out, but that’s about it. Thanks for bringing it up and ruining my day! No, I’m kidding, about ruining my day, not about not being able to whistle. I really can’t do it.

    Like

  18. Pulitzer prize material there.

    Like

  19. Thanks for coming to read and for following! There will be!!

    Like

  20. Hello,
    many thanks for your comment om my blog… I like you skiing picture….I hope there will follow much more.

    greetings from Austria

    Like

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