Friday, March 23, 2007

Burma-Shave

Minneapolis is doing a Share the Road day or something like that next month. During my first meeting as a member of the Saint Paul Bicycle Advisory Board in early March it was suggested that Saint Paul should do something in coordination with Minneapolis for this day. One idea that was floated was to do a series of Burma Shave-like ads for the sides of the roads that day.

If you're not familiar with Burma Shave signs, they were an advertising campaign by a shaving cream maker involved bits of doggerel on signs along the highways and always ending in Burma Shave. Each line of the little poem would be on a separate sign spaced a few seconds apart with the last one reading Burma-Shave. These started off in 1925 and the last new ones were posted in 1963 which means that they overlap my life though I don't actually recall seeing any.

Here are a couple of examples:

Dealing with the product:

His cheek was rough
His chick vamoosed
Now she won't
Come home to roost
Burma-Shave

A whiskery kiss
For the one you adore
May not make her mad
But her face will be sore
Burma-Shave

And with driving safely, which many did. It's hard now to remember how narrow the roads were and how bad the tires, brakes and even windshield wipers were in those cars, which of course had no seatbelts or airbags:

A guy
who drives
his car wide open
Isn't thinking
He's just hopin'
Burma-Shave

As you can tell, these aren't as rigidly defined a style as haiku or limericks.

Anyway, the challenge is to write some of these that will end with Share the Road rather than Burma Shave. Here are some of my attempts:

On my bike
I may look dorky
but because I ride
I'm not porky!
Share the Road

Diabetes, strokes,
cardiac disease
riding your bicycle
can help avoid these
Share the Road

Driving to
Your Spinning Class?
Ride your bike
and save the gas! (alternatively, you lazy ass!)
Share the Road

Your auto weighs four thousand pounds
My bicycle weighs thirty
If you hit me when you drive
Your grille will get all dirty
Share the Road

On my bike
I work and toil
to Support the Troops:
I burn no oil!
Share the Road

Some would be for cyclists:

If you ride
your bike at night
Get a Clue
Turn on a light!
Share the Road

One of the other BAB members has written some as well. Sadly, I don't have them with me, but one I liked went something like:

The cell phone is
A wonderful invention
Perhaps you could hang up
And call me an ambulance
Share The Road

which I like because it doesn't even attempt to rhyme.

There's more time for ideas! Leave them in the Comments below so all can see! And Share the Road!

3 comments:

kstoerz said...

Those are awesome; I love it!

The Old Bag said...

what a great idea -- I'll throw it in the hopper and see what comes out (most of my brain cells are used for other writing these days, but ya never know....).

billc said...

This is a great idea, perfect for somewhere like Marshall avenue, with the new bike lane striping. A couple more for you:

soda in the left hand
cell phone in the right
eyeballs in the rearview mirror
pull over, flashing lights
Share the Road

wave to your neighbor
rolling down the street
two wheels, four wheels
or people on their feet
Share the Road