I’m always a little anxious when I see two vowels at the beginning of a word, particularly when they’re the same vowel. Vowels tend to intimidate me. They can be pretty wishy-washy; unwilling to commit to one sound or another. That kind of flexibility (as well as the flexibility displayed by some circus performers) makes me uncomfortable.
How did I arrive at this uncomfortable place this Friday Blog morning? The answer is simultaneously simple and circuitous: Bohemian Rhapsody. I bought a ukelele last February. I watched Jake Shimabukuro’s online “How To Play Your Ukulele” class last week. Jake Shimabukuro plays Bohemian Rhapsody (WOW) on his ukulele. Bohemian Rhapsody contains the line, “Mama, oooh.”
While I have not yet opened the box that contains my ukulele, the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody have been circling my mind continuously since seeing Jake Shimabukuro play the song on the ukulele. Since the words were there, I thought I would think about them. Particularly, I thought about “oooh.” Those two “o’s” between the initial “o” and the “h” are like the dash between birth date and death date on a headstone. That’s where everything happens. With a little lilt up or down, we can move from happy to sad. We can go from scolding to scolded. We can convey confusion or confidence. There it is, that vowel flexibility that makes me squirm in discomfort. Aah, I know, I’ll listen to Jake Shimabukuro’s “Peace Love Ukulele.” It sooths my anxiety and inspires. The music is amazing and entertaining. The sounds he coaxes from the humble ukulele are beautiful, varied and impressive. This gives me hope for beauty in other unexpected places. Hope, beauty, ooh and aah are full of possibility. Life is good.