When the Weird Guy Gets a Whistle

When I was a kid, my family was part of a social group for homeschoolers.  So, I’ve attended my share of carnivals, birthday parties, and fairs, mingling with families from a wide variety of …. (*cough)…. social skills.

If you want to conduct an interesting experiment with a group of people, hand everybody baggies full of cheap, plastic toys and just watch what happens.

Think of the standard party-favors; the kinds you might get from a vendine machine or from a rat in exchange for tickets at a certain Pizza-and-Arcade joint.    Think of tiny coloring books and hand-held mazes with balls in them and those “slider” puzzles in which all of the “slider” pieces are jammed and won’t move.

You know what I’m talking about?

3.29.20 Party Favors


But, most of all, I want you to imagine the noise-makers…  Hand clappers or kazoos or those little slide whistles!

Every 6-year-old loves a good slide-whistle, right?  Usually, the little kids get their hands on those things and then procede to drive everyone else crazy.

That’s why I’ll always remember the time I had to watch in horror while a “grown-up” parent ripped into one of those baggies, found a slide-whistle, and played it LOUDLY and incessantly, for the remainder of the party. 

Even as a very young child myself, I could tell there was something WEIRD happening:

No one else seemed to be enjoying the Weird Guy’s whistling as much as the Weird Guy was.   Why didn’t he notice?

He was laughing and marching and whistling with reckless abandon. He tried for what seemed like an eternity to master “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Eventually, he invited everyone to gather around and listen while he performed his shrill concert. He seemed completely oblivious to the fact that his noise made other people more and more uncomfortable, the longer it continued…

I was barely 9-years-old, and I was already learning some things about “Tooting My Own Horn.”  Suddenly, I wasn’t interested in playing my own slide-whistle, because I didn’t want to be as annoying as the Weird Guy.

While I tried to process all the “icky” feelings I got from watching a tone-deaf adult make a fool of himself, the biblical warnings against pride and self-focus began to take root in my mind…

Suddenly, I was convicted with a hard truth:

“Even if the little kids are tooting their own horns, the mature people are practicing self-awareness and self-control. I want imitate the mature people.”


These days, social media gives us the chance to see the “Slide-Whistle Experiment” on a huge scale.  We’re constantly inviting each other to come listen to our concerts. “Look at me! Isn’t this GREAT?!”   The situation is ripe for growing some ugly pride.

Look around yourself! I guarantee, there are some Weird Guys at your parties, too. They’re loudly playing their own whistles and having a great time, never stopping to consider how their actions affect others…

Just make sure that YOU aren’t the Weird Guy!

Remember: everyone else has the same baggie of toys.  If you (and the toddlers) are the only ones blowing your whistles, ask yourself why that might be.

4 thoughts on “When the Weird Guy Gets a Whistle

  1. John Branyan

    Sometimes it’s funny when grown-ups do childish things. I think the success of the slide whistle concert depends on whether or not the adult is aware of his foolishness.



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