There are worse ways to start a Monday than being reminded that whistling is still a thing. It’s a lost art.
At least in the case of Chris Ullman, the Washington Post calls his talent a “below-the-radar sign of humanity.”
Ullman’s a whistler.
He’s a four-time world champion whistler and a Washington bigshot who specializes in whistling Happy Birthday.
Nothing stops the ritual. He’s whistled “Happy Birthday” while sitting in a taxiing jumbo jet in Istanbul and once whistled over the phone to a woman who was at the base of Mount Everest. He whistles every year for well-known Washington figures, such as his boss, billionaire financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein, and David Ferriero, the archivist of the United States. He whistles for journalists and pols, for the famous and the obscure, for people he’s known his whole life and for friends of friends of friends.
His philosophy is that everyone has a “whistle” — a gift they can share with the world.
Ullman spends his days navigating the high-intensity atmosphere of some of the biggest financial deals in the country. He has to say no a lot, he points out. No to interview requests. No to folks probing for details about his company’s maneuvers.
But he doesn’t look at whistling as a place to flee.
“It’s not an escape to me. It’s more an expansion,” he says. “The whistling has expanded my world to make it a healthier world.”
Somebody has to and it’s fallen on a guy who knows how to pucker with the best of them.
Ullman got his start whistling while on his paper route as a kid. Maybe that’s why no one whistles anymore — the latest casualty of the war on newspapers.
He can, by the way, whistle with his mouth closed.
What a country!