I’ve always enjoyed traveling the highways, but it was more interesting when I was a kid. Today’s interstate highways are great in terms of efficiency and safety, but the high speeds and limited distractions are kind of. . .boring. I sometimes long for the days when cross-country highways like US 40 and US 66 were carrying travelers past all kinds of roadside attractions. You might see billboards for everything from snake farms to ‘authentic’ Indian trading posts, but a favorite of mine was spotting Burma-Shave signs.
If you don’t remember them, the brief version is that the Burma-Shave company came up with an ingenious – and cheap – way to spread the word about their brushless shaving cream. Along the nation’s highways they’d attach their small signs to several fence posts in a row and as you drove by them, reading each in turn, it would form a clever little verse.
This video explains it better than I have, and also has several good examples.
It might sound silly now, but kids on long car trips didn’t have smartphones, tablets and the like to entertain ourselves. But that was all to the better because we were looking out the windows and seeing the real world. Besides that, spotting a series of Burma-Shave signs FIRST was a small victory in the never-ending rivalry between siblings.