How old is too old to sing in public?

 (<a href=''>twinsterphoto</a>/Big Stock Photo)

(twinsterphoto/Big Stock Photo)

As every Baby Boomer knows, as we grow older we face an ever increasing array of cut-offs. That is, we reach ages at which it no longer seems appropriate to talk, act, or dress in ways we once found natural when the world was young and we were younger.

These sorts of cut-offs abound, from the cut-off for wearing a baseball cap backward (22 years old) to the cut-off for growing hair that completely covers your ears (37 years old) to the cut-off for walking down the street audibly singing a song — for which, as of yet, I am unaware of any established cut-off.

But there must be a cut-off. Although singing “Southern Man” while walking across the quad doing your best Neil Young at age 22 may have made you seem cool, walking across the parking lot at Target doing the same at age 62 makes you a tool!

It’s even worse for me. My singing voice has a vocal quality similar to that of comedian Gilbert Gottfried, were Mr. Gottfried attempting to sing “Feelings” while practicing the art of hog calling.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Carry a tune? I’d need to call movers.

Perfect pitch? That’s something I always seemed to attract whenever I was batting at wiffleball.

And yet still I sing. Often in public.

You’d think this singing fool were a happy-go-lucky guy, but you’d be wrong. Actually I’m more of a curmudgeon filled with regret over many of the actions I’ve taken, and decisions I’ve made during my lifetime, including my failure to have the guts to ask out the retrospectively obviously willing Samantha Curran, which would have no doubt secured for me nothing less than glorious golden-haired heaven on earth.

Yet still I sing. Often in public.

And when I do, the world often does seem a little bit brighter.

Today I walked into my local Wawa vocalizing me some Van Morrison, perhaps a little bit too loudly. People looked at me like the sound of a nuclear weapon being dropped by Kim Jong-un on the Wawa deli counter would have been preferable to my warbling:

Ding a ling a lingDing a ling a ling dingDing a ling a lingDing a ling a ling ding …

I was frankly embarrassed, so I toned it down to a decibel level which would more appropriately register with Max and Victor than Roger and Justin, even though I have no idea which are the dogs and which are the people in this sentence.

But now folks in the store looked at me as though I might be singing a soft duet with my good friend, Harvey the Rabbit.

Yet still I sing. Often in public.

As I walked out of the Wawa, I found myself breaking into “Awaiting on You All” by George Harrison.

You don‘t need no passport, and you don’t need no visas …

But I certainly do need a passport, a visa, a voice, a sense of pitch, and multiple decades less in age.

As I rounded a corner I came face to face with a woman a bit older than I. She smiled.

“Just keep singin’!” she said.

So what is the cut-off for singing in public?

I’m going with none.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal