Requiem: Fox 40 Classic


This is not a picture of my trusty Fox 40 classic which I have owned since the summer of 1994.  There is no picture of that beloved whistle because after years of service, I lost it.  This is the replacement.  The original was black.  In 1994 I think they only came in black, unlike today when everyone can get their favorite color.  I bought the whistle the summer I was a lifeguard at Wild Waters, which was an awful place to be a lifeguard.  We rotated from station to station all day long, spending 7.5 hours per day standing in the sun.  If I had gotten a job at a public pool I would have been outside for an hour at a time, maximum.  If I ever develop skin cancer, I will blame Wild Waters.

When guarding the water slides we had to indicate when children could go, by motioning them forward as we watched to ensure the person in front of them was far enough along that they wouldn’t collide. Because of that,  “Can I go yet?” is permanently in my book as the stupidest question ever.  “If you could go yet, I would have motioned you forward.” I told more than one child in an exasperated voice after hearing the question for the fiftieth time that day.

I bought the Fox 40 Classic because the regular old whistle I was issued did not stand up to the rigors that is guarding at a water park.  Watching the pool portion was the worst as it was a frothing mass of unsupervised children, many of whom didn’t hear me when I whistled at them to stop whatever rule-breaking activity they were doing.  I learned quickly that if you blow a normal whistle too hard it makes a very wimpy “cccaaaa” noise that inspires laughter from the few that can hear it, while the hoodlums I was whistling at carried on with their rule breaking ways.

The Fox 40 Classic, one of my fellow lifeguards told me, never does that because there is no ball in the whistle.  The air travels through chambers.  It’s pretty darn loud too.  I ponied up the then-exorbitant fee of $5.95 for my own and, wow.  That whistle gets attention.

There was only one summer of life guarding for me, but I kept the whistle around.  When I started working at an elementary school and added “recess monitor” to my duties, I pulled out my trusty Fox 40 classic.  It’s been causing children to cover their ears when I blow it at recess for over six years and it deserved more than to be lost somewhere between the playground and one of the K/1 classrooms.  But that’s what it got.  Sorry trusty friend.  

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