Whistle While You Work

I wonder if Sleepy, Dopy, Doc and the gang ever haggled over which song to whistle. I mean, I wonder how things would have gone down if Happy and Bashful liked country, while Sneezy and Grumpy preferred rap.

That’s the kind of extreme musical dichotomy we faced when a subset of construction class wanted to listen to Taylor Swift and a splinter group wanted to stream some very, very angry rock while we erected a 51×12-foot wall in the automotive building at Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

Fortunately, Team TSwift ginned up Pandora before the dystopic cohort could spin their collection of World-Hating Songs to Slit Your Wrists By, and we enjoyed a shift of drywalling to a soundtrack of cheerfully plaintive poetry courtesy of America’s sweetheart. At one point, I caught myself feeling like I was seventeen, twirling with a pan of 90-minute mud in one hand and a utility knife in the other. Never has the verse “She wears high heels, I wear sneakers” rung more true than when I was dancing in steel-toe work boots. TSwift, you are my spiritual guide.

But our dance party came back to bite us later, when our colleagues hijacked the airwaves with their caterwauling ballads of desperate self-loathing, and we were in for an afternoon of sheetrock and…well, displeasing rock.

It turns out, you can’t have your TSwizzle without a reciprocal dose of ear-searing audio assault. The First Amendment can be a real double-edged drywall knife.

But as much as we may have hated each other’s music, construction class showed admirable restraint and respect in the face of the cacophony. No one revolted, no one quarreled, and in the end, I confess, I even caught myself spreading drywall mud to the beat of a very angry—but efficient— bass guitar.

That’s not to say we don’t have our limits. If anyone’s playlist had been truly offensive, inciting hate or violence, we would have pulled the plug. And if our puckish classmate ever pulls that stunt again where he DJs a mandatory “Macarena” marathon in the workshop, you better believe our better angels will shut it down.

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