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August 6, 2006 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Burma-Shave

Isn’t it amazing that once you learn a new thing, perhaps a word or an expression that you never heard your entire life, suddenly it starts turning up again and again? Here is one for you:
Company picnic today at the Flying W Ranch, a cool place where you can ride a train and eat a chuckwagon supper and watch cowboys croon and crawl in a teepee and so on. We drove in on a long gravel road to get there and on the left hand side of the road was a small, plain sign that said

BURMA- SHAVE

Wasband and I looked at each other and said “Burma shave?” We thought it was a really odd thing to put on a sign.

After the picnic we headed to Target where I had to pick up a few things after my trip. We were browsing the toothpaste selections when I remembered that I needed a new razor. There are so many razors to pick from. There is actually one you can purchase with five blades. Five! I usually grab a ten-pack of the double bladed kind (you know, with the purple moisturizing strip) but a voice in my head said Live a little. Go all out. So I picked up a fancy razor with four! blades. It was a little pricey but I am hoping four blades last a while. Plus you can buy refill cartridges.
Well the preliminary tests of the four-bladed behemoth were a little iffy. It shaves alright, it shaves like…well, like a really awesome expensive razor shaves. It clearly needs to be in the hands of a surgeon, or at least a skilled mechanic, because I nearly lost a toe. So I decided to write a blog about how ridiculous razors have become and in my research, I found a tiny link to

BURMA-SHAVE

Ok, now how likely is it that you have never heard of

BURMA-SHAVE

and then you hear about it twice in one day! I clicked on the link and read all about it. Burma Shave is an old brand of shaving cream, famous for its advertising campaign. If you click on the link above, you can read about it. According to the Wiki article, Burma Shave had signs in 44 states. There would be five signs in a row, the first four would spell out a little jingle. The fifth would say

BURMA SHAVE.

The signs were poetic and funny! For example:

Grandpa’s beard / was stiff and coarse / and that’s what / caused his / fifth divorce / Burma-Shave!

So there you have it. Mystery solved, all in a day! My favorite poem (again, from Wiki) was this one:

The wolf / is shaved / so neat and trim / Red Riding Hood / is chasing him / Burma-Shave!

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