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Human amusements at hourly rates

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have an announcement of some importance, one that will perhaps rock the very foundations upon which humanity is resting. One that I make with just a hint of shame and a healthy scattering of bravado. One that will perhaps relegate me forever to the realm of the desperate and dateless, little more than a wallflower in the great garden of life. For I have officially entered the sordid and somewhat competitive world of professional whistling. Yes, that’s right, professional whistling. Last night in a moment of altruistic euphoria (encouraged no doubt by a long glass of Argentinean white) I agreed to become the manager of an entrant in this year’s American Whistling Championships, an annual event of monumental proportions that pits the finest sets of lungs, lips and tonsils in the country against each other in a showdown to the death. Or at least until someone wins. Whichever comes first. This is a fiercely competitive environment, where song choice, pitch, and tone are everything; and tight jeans and social graces, evidently, are not. Where the sweet tremor of a well-performed vibrato is like music to the ears of a judging panel that have no doubt heard it all before. So we must push boundaries; we must take risks. Hendrix’s ‘Star Spangled Banner’; Cream’s ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ and Zappa’s ‘Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask’ are all part of my grand vision. And yes, there will be tears along the way; there will be days when my exhaustive training routine will wear. But, heck, when my charge stands proudly on that podium, clutching the magnificent Gold Flute and whistling with abandon the victory song (Sherbet’s ‘Can You Feel It?’), I know deep down inside that it’ll be more than worth the sacrifices. [illustrations by Shinya Harada]