Vol.IX No.XI Pg.8
January 1973

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

A genuine Kentucky Whooeee stick is truly a thing to behold. It consists of a light cedar wand, about 1/2 x 1/2 x 10, with nine quarter-inch notches cut along one side, and a 3 propeller mounted at one end. A rubbing stick completes the equipment— a slightly curved piece of dogwood, about 3 1/2 long, cut in the full of the moon. Those of the proper faith and courage, with perhaps a wee bit of Kentucky blood in their veins, can hold the longer wand in their left hand, rub the notches with the rubbing stick, and the propeller will whirl about.

Then the operator utters a long, drawn-out Whooeee —(somewhere between a hog-calling Whooeee and a Whooeee, aint them good molasses) —and the propeller will reverse itself and spin in the opposite direction. I dont blame you for doubting. If I hadnt seen it myself I wouldnt believe it either.

My own private Whooeee stick was made by Buel Spears, of Scottsville, and it is showing signs of wear. Many skeptics who try it are too embarrassed to shout Whooeee and have just about rubbed away the notches. One fellow had the audacity to say that he didnt believe saying Whooeee had anything to do with it; but people like that wont even believe the trombonist swallows the slide he pushes back and forth. There is little hope for such folk.

No! I will not tell you how it works. You might tell my grandchildren and they, robbed of wonder and mystery, might tell others. It is fearful to contemplate this world without Whooeee sticks. The blithe spirit, so much needed to lift us out of lifes humdrum, would perish. Little children would quit believing in elves and Santa Claus, and play-like would take on an ominous meaning, like deception or lie. Slowly but surely laughter would cease, and in the dead calm people would move uneasily, looking with suspicion upon all about them. And without play Whooeee sticks how would we know to question the Whooeee sticks of politics, business and religion? Where would we get a good example of the fallacy of non- sequitur?

And finally, without Whooeee sticks, serious things would become so commonplace there would be nothing truly outstanding, and no one would ever again take anything seriously.