It surely means something that we live in an age containing the greatest ukulele player ever born, but I’m not sure just what it means. His name is Jake Shimabukuro, a twenty-nine-year-old from Hawaii, and he can make a four-string ukulele do everything but sit up and beg—and the question, when you hear him, is why: If you are this good on a ukulele, why are you playing a ukulele?
Take a look at him here, for example, playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” It sounds good from the beginning, but the moment, I think, when it ceases to be merely good and becomes simply impossible is the second time through the chorus (at 1:40 in the clip), when Shimabukuro starts adding on the rhythm guitar’s part—approximating two guitars on his four-string instrument. (On the original Beatles song, as I remember, George Harrison played the rhythm part and Eric Clapton sat in to play the lead.) By the time he reaches the piano-like arpeggios at 3:38, the listener’s capacity for astonishment is exhausted: The man is some kind of mad genius, because the ukulele just isn’t capable of doing all this.
Bottum isn't kidding, either. Below is the YouTube clip of Shimabukuro. It's 100 percent safe from the office, although you will want to play it very loud. You'll be cheating yourself if you don't watch the whole thing, but if you really want to jump to the insane part, go to 2:38.