If I were more cultured, I wouldn’t even think about this, but I’m not, so here it goes: One of the most popular, recognizable songs strictly whistled must be the theme to “The Andy Griffith Show.”

I won’t sing or whistle in front of anyone. I say it’s because I’m so bad at it, and I am. But I think it comes from being traumatized when I was a child: I was urged to sing and dance in front of people, because that’s what my mom did, but she was considerably better at it than I am. In fact, a family friend regularly took her to the company store, lifted her up to the counter where miners and their families would give her a nickel to sing and dance.

But whistling is fun.

Once, when my mom and dad and I were traveling, I couldn’t stop whistling. I don’t remember the tune, but my mom kept telling me to stop. I did not stop. I whistled my heart out. I didn’t continue whistling to annoy her; I literally couldn’t stop. Finally, in a rare move, my dad took up for me. “Leave her alone and let her whistle. She’s happy,” he said.

He’s right. I was happy.

Another uncontrollable whistling incident: I was on vacation having dinner with friends. I paid my bill and started the trek down a long hallway to the exit door. Thinking I wouldn’t be seen, I began whistling the “Andy Griffith” theme and doing a weird little dance. I didn’t know the hallway opened into a sitting room before the exit, so I inadvertently (and inappropriately) sang and danced in front of strangers.

Yes, I was embarrassed, and yes I turned red. But it’s OK. I was happy.

I bet happiness can be measured by whistling. If so, I’d like to meet Andy Offutt Irwin, an American storyteller and darn fine whistler.

Irwin entered the Global Whistling Championship 2020 with an online submission of him whisling to Gershwin’s Prelude No. 2.

This performance goes beyond a flawless presentation of a television theme song. Irwin performed grace notes and trills with the talent of a nightingale. It was perfectly executed and soulful, to my ears.

Sadly, Andy Offutt Irwin did not win this year’s international contest, but considering how he whistles, I bet that guy is really happy.

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