Sunday, January 22, 2012

Anyone Can Whistle

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. 

Stephen Sondheim's song "Anyone Can Whistle" is simple and beautiful.  If you've never heard it, I suggest you look it up on the internet and give it a listen.  Pure magic.

I have a confession to make, however.  I do not know how to whistle.  Nope.  Not even a little bit.  Unless you count blowing through the kind of whistle gym teachers have hanging around their necks.  Even then it's a stretch because I don't like getting that close to gym teachers.  They smell like B.O. and have constant sweat stains in the weirdest places.  Like around their belly buttons.  But whistling with just my own two lips... no can do.  Not even if I stick my fingers in my mouth.  I just look like an idiot trying to eat his hand.

At least the singer of the song can do other things besides whistle.  He can dance a tango, read Greek and even slay a dragon.  I'm telling you, if I had the strength and agility to slay a fire-breathing mythical beast I sure wouldn't care at all that I couldn't whistle.  Just saying.  Me, however...  I can't do any of those other things either!  And it got me thinking.  Just how many "easy" things can I not do?

Unfortunately, quite a lot.  I compiled a list.

Things Jack Can't Do that Other People Can
  • Whistle
  • Dance
  • Read Greek
  • Slay dragons
  • Cook
  • Eat with chopsticks
  • Blow a bubblegum bubble
  • Ice skate (or ski or snowboard)
  • Roller skate (or roller blade or skateboard)
  • Swim
  • Swallow pills
  • Drive a manual car
  • Parallel park
  • Basic math
  • Play an instrument
  • Throw or catch (or anything involving sports)
  • Do the Star Trek hand thingy
I'm sure the list goes on and on, but another thing I'm not good at is making lists.  Halfway through I started listing off U.S. states because I forgot what I was listing.  I eventually remembered and deleted them all, but it was still embarrassing.  Four hours later after browsing Pinterest and cleaning my room I came back to the list and decided it was good enough.

Perhaps the lyric "Maybe you could show me how to let go, lower my guard, learn to be free" has something to do with my lack of abilities.  My fear and trepidation of failing at things and embarrassing myself impede me from trying a lot of things.  Heck, I didn't even know how to pee standing up until I was in my late teens!

That part was a joke.  Or was it?

This year, my resolution is to try to do more things that are outside of my comfort zone.  I won't ask for a fork when I'm at a Japanese restaurant.  Maybe I'll take Brian's car for a lesson in a nearby parking lot.  Somebody could throw me in an ocean and shout, "Doggy paddle for your life, Jack!  Do it or drown!"

And who knows?  With the proper attitude, maybe I can whistle.

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