Day 565: Anyone can whistle

My son, who’s been rehearsing in a local production of a  Stephen Sondheim musical, has to whistle in the play, as part of his role.

Whistling doesn’t come naturally to him, and he has expressed some reactions to that, including the observation that most people can whistle.

Why does my son have trouble whistling?

I’m not sure, but I will tell you this:  his mother’s not such a great whistler, either.

Coincidentally, Stephen Sondheim, when he was quite young, wrote a musical called Anyone Can Whistle

Regular readers of this blog may know (1) the thought  “anyone can whistle” is an example of some cognitive distortions (listed here) and (2) I love Stephen Sondheim (see here, here, and here).

In any case, here is the title song from Anyone Can Whistle:

I chose that video version (found here) of “Anyone Can Whistle” because:

  • I am fascinated with the process of rehearsing,
  • I’ve never seen the show on stage (even though I know the original cast album by heart),
  • I like watching people’s faces, and
  • I loved the way Sutton Foster sings it there.

In case it wasn’t easy for you to hear the words to “Anyone Can Whistle” in that video, here they are:

Anyone can whistle, that’s what they say, easy
Anyone can whistle, any old day, easy
It’s all so simple, relax, let go, let fly
So someone tell me, why can’t I?

I can dance a tango, I can read Greek, easy
I can slay a dragon, any old week, easy
What’s hard is simple
What’s natural comes hard

Maybe you could show me
How to let go, lower my guard
Learn to be free
Maybe if you whistle, whistle for me

(lyrics found here)

Today, I was considering writing a post titled “Easy/Difficult,” inspired by many things, including:

  • Somebody at WordPress telling me they found the questions in yesterday’s post too difficult to answer.
  • Many people in therapy talking about what’s easy and what’s difficult for them.
  • My receiving praise, this week, for some things that come easily to me.
  • My focus on things that are difficult for me to do.
  • How human beings tend to dismiss the value of what’s easy for them to do and to magnify the importance of what’s difficult and hard.
  • How things might be easier for us if we let go of the need to be right.  For example, there were no right or wrong answers to my questions, yesterday. (But, I neglected to mention that, so how would anyone know?)

I didn’t use that title, however, because I’ve already used a similar one, a hundred-and-a-half days ago.

Also, I love this title, today.

Let’s see if I have any visuals that match today’s words.

Rats!  I don’t see any images of anyone whistling on my iPhone.  However, I did take these photos, yesterday, with varying degrees of easiness/difficulty:


IMG_7062 IMG_7068  IMG_7069 IMG_7072  IMG_7095  IMG_7139IMG_7098


IMG_7100  IMG_7103 IMG_7106

IMG_7118  IMG_7127IMG_7122

IMG_7131 IMG_7134 IMG_7135   IMG_7136 IMG_7148 IMG_7150IMG_7156 IMG_7159 IMG_7164 IMG_7165

Thanks to my son, Stephen Sondheim, and Sutton Foster; to the Fenway area of Boston (including the Rose Garden); to things that are easy and/or difficult; to people who do the best they can; and to you — of course! — for whistling by here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Day 565: Anyone can whistle

  1. Which musical is your son going to be part of?

  2. First off, goes to show how my brain is different from everyone else, I assumed the questions yesterday were rhetorical, it never dawned on me to attempt to answer them! I also hate answering questions in blogs.
    Secondly, I hate whistling. It grates on my nerves. I did have lame know observe that maybe I loathe whistling so much because I can’t!
    They might have a point!

    • First off, the questions definitely could have been rhetorical. So, Kate, while your brain is unique, I assume that other people felt the same way about them as you did. Secondly, I’m not sure how I feel about whistling. As always, thanks for a great comment!

  3. I can, and truly enjoy, the whistling that you do be pursing your lips to follow along with a tune or a song, Ann. But the shrill, loud, crowd-stopper that some folks do by sticking their fingers in their mouth to, say, hail a cab? Can’t do it to save my life. I don’t mind, though. I rather prefer the kind of whistling that comes easy to me and find the kind I find difficult — make that impossible — extremely annoying.

    • That’s easy for you to say, Mark! Speaking for myself, when I’ve needed to hail a cab, I’ve wished I could get somebody’s attention with that loud, cab-stopping sound. Can’t do it to save my life either. Thanks for hailing my attention with this comment.

  4. I Looove watching rehearsals. Seeing people’s faces as they reach for another imaginary person’s emotions in themselves in order to depict it for others to watch. I am glad to be reminded of some great talents that humans have after depressing week of news of how badly they can behave to each other. I can’t whistle, I’ve not found it a serious handicap so far.

  5. My father was a beautiful whistler.Many, many years ago, he was a DJ (one of the first) and used to whistle along with some of the songs. I have never been able to whistle. So much for that gene!

    • I am so glad you introduced us to your whistling DJ father. I bet you inherited other good things from him.

  6. Your son is awesome!

    I haven’t whistled often but I’m good with dragons.Not so much slaying them as inviting them in for tea.

  7. Ridiculous that I’m drinking jasmine green tea at this very moment, but not on a sofa.

    Anyone can answer questions. (Yes, I’m cognitively distorted!) Much harder to ask them. Isn’t it?

    • Ridiculous as rain, Jeff, don’t you think? And aren’t we all cognitively distorted?

      Asking questions comes easy to me, I guess. Answering questions? Not so much.

  8. i loved that video! as a late learner of the whistling, i feel your pain. people kept telling me ‘just do this..’ or ‘that..’ and one very random day i made a high pitched noise! still not a solid noise, but a noise none-the-less! i believe in you! 😉 hehe

    • And I loved your comment, with its enthusiasm, empathy, sharing of personal experience, modesty, humor, and belief in others. Wonderful to see you here.

  9. Nothing quite like whistling… Nice to see this video (nothing quite like watching a musical). Love the photos, especially of the Canadian Geese, one of my favorite birds 🙂

  10. A patient comes into our office every 3 months for his routine visit whistling. He is just always whistling a tune of some sort. Clearly he was a song bird in another life, because his talent is incredible. Good luck to your son with his performance.
    Kids & the arts rock!

  11. Oh how I envy those who can peel off a wolf whistle at will (say that fast five times!) there are so many times I could have really used that skill. Instead I’m reduced to saying “listen up!” over and over, which is wholly ineffective. Sigh.

    • Again, Jill, I can’t imagine anyone experiencing you as ineffective (whether or not they can whistle). Thanks for the comment!

  12. Gene Phillips

    I’m another person who can only barely whistle. When I think of whistling, one or more of three things almost always come to mind: the opening of “The Andy Griffith Show,” the famous scene between Bogey and Bacall in “To Have and To Have Not,” and the song of the Seven Dwarves from “Snow White.” All of them make me happy even though I can’t whistle, so that is OK.

    • I think of these things, too, Gene. I would also add “I Whistle a Happy Tune” from The King and I. This comment made me happy.

  13. Pingback: Day 640: All over the place | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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