Route 66, Burma-Shave and things spiritual


By Les Linz

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Ministers put their pants on one leg at a time (We’ve tried two legs but found it to be too dangerous).

Another secret? When gathered together, we talk about important spiritual matters, like, “Burma-Shave” and their marketing program of old.

Yes, that very thing came up at a recent clergy meeting, which inspired me to do a little digging into Burma-Vita and its history.

The brushless shaving cream company (headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota), began promoting its product of fame in 1925.

The shaving aid’s ingredients were said to have come from Burma, and the Malay Peninsula, thus the moniker.

Over the course of nearly four decades, Burma-Shave regularly advertised its product on a series of miniature billboards, conspicuously affixed to consecutive fence posts all along our nation’s highways and byways.

The ‘50s saw increased speed limits, resulting in less comprehension of the poetic sign series by safety-minded drivers. As such, the new company owners (tobacco giant Philip Morris) abandoned the marketing methodology under advice of legal counsel about 10 years later.

What kind of verbiage would drivers and their passengers see, back in the day? Here are just a few examples of the 600 or so:

“Train approaching / Whistle squealing / Stop / Avoid that run-down feeling / Burma-Shave”


“Past / Schoolhouses / Take it slow / Let the little / Shavers grow / Burma-Shave


“If you dislike / Big traffic fines / Slow down / Till you / Can read these signs / Burma-Shave”

As entertaining and socially valuable as these poems are, I will offer some of my own, speaking more to the need of validating my ordination than affinity for coffee and donuts. Since Burma-Shave was well-known for poeticizing all up and down old Route 66, I thought I would offer some prose, more or Les, as it concerns the 66 collective books of both Old and New Testament. To wit:

Old Testament

Genesis: The Word of God from start, not end, God chose on us his love to spend.

Exodus: God sends some plagues and parts the sea, and brings an end to slavery.

Leviticus: This is how you worship me, that things go well with I and thee.

Numbers: You all will wander 40 years, when my Word’s not within your ears.

Deuteronomy: The Ten Commandments now seen twice, so you can live in land that’s nice.

Joshua: Josh and Caleb had good vibes, so Israel got new land for Tribes.

Judges: “We want a king and not a judge.” “Now you’ll be ruled by those with grudge.”

Ruth: Naomi, Ruth and Boaz too. “Though once a goy, I’ll be a Jew.”

I Samuel: A nepotistic judge will fail and cause the folks to all out wail.

II Samuel: When I make kings, they’ve raised the sheep, and in result, folks no more weep.

I Kings: King Solomon, loved by a “few”, then Kingdom’s split from one to two.

II Kings: To listen poorly isn’t nice, I’ll use bad lands, you’ll pay a price.

I Chronicles: If genealogy’s your game, you’ll find this Book is full of name.

II Chronicles: Temples come and temples go, and Babylon brings tons of woe.

Ezra: My temple, it has been rebuilt, my laws are now obeyed to hilt.

Nehemiah: My word is once again fulfilled. Nehemiah starts a builder’s guild.

Esther: Haman wants to kill the Jews. A foxy chick will sure diffuse.

Job: Satan torments righteous Job by playing with his frontal lobe.

Psalms: An ancient book with lots of hymns, when sung real loud, the darkness dims.

Proverbs: The sayings ‘bout both dumb and wise, it separates the boys from guys.

Ecclesiastes: The life you live should be for me, and focused on eternity.

Song of Solomon: A manual of love and more, the married kids should sure explore.

Isaiah: God sends his prophet, be forewarned, one’s coming that you will have mourned.

Jeremiah: Jeremiah speaks of coming days, three score and 10 years not a phase.

Lamentations: “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” the father says — it makes me blue.”

Ezekiel: Ezekiel, God’s man doth speak, about how Judah will yet seek.

Daniel: The prophet Daniel talks aloud, and says lots to the end times crowd.

Hosea: “Go find a hooker, marry her. In spite of sins, your love adjure.”

Joel: The bugs and tongues invade the land, and both are just as God has planned.

Amos: “Israel’s going down, I say, but will be better, come the day”.

Obadiah: It will not be too good for “Red,” because he’s fostered fear and dread.”

Jonah: He learned a lot from, “school of fish” and left the comfort of Tarshish.

Micah: “Your dealings are not good with man, but one day folks will see God’s plan.”

Nahum: “Oh Nineveh, you’re going down, too bad that Jonah didn’t drown”

Habakkuk: God will use the bad for good, no wonder He’s misunderstood.

Zephaniah: Our God will spank His people, sure, but in his love he’ll make them pure.

Haggai: “Your house is not as nice as God’s, so make his nicer,” Haggai prods.

Zechariah: Messiah’s coming, not just once — invite him in, don’t be a dunce.

Malachi: “Be intimate with me, your God — I’m truth and life, I’m no façade.”

New Testament

Matthew: Now, here is Jesus’ pedigree, enslaved in flesh, to set us free.

Mark: The what of what Messiah’s done, how evil’s lost and good has won.

Luke: The doctor’s in, he speaks of love, which comes from God and Son, above.

John: God’s second cousin gets him wet, turns water into wine, no sweat.

Acts: First Jesus goes, then Spirit comes — the church gets foes and routs the bums.

Romans: You take a turn from law to grace, like shaving — it’s an about face.

I Corinthians: This is how you should behave when Jesus says that you’re His slave.

II Corinthians: As a church you will not sway when you stay on the Lord, our way.

Galatians: Salvation comes from grace not law-condition of your heart, not jaw.

Ephesians: The “body” is not yours alone, but all who join it on the throne.

Philippians: The peace of God’s not just without, but found within — ‘twill make you shout.

Colossians: Philosophy is just uncouth, you need the way and life and truth.

I Thessalonians: There’ll be a time we’re out of here — until that time, to him draw near.

II Thessalonians: The Lord’s return is sooner now — do what it takes, believe somehow.

I Timothy: This shows what pastors need to do to minister to me and you.

II Timothy: Be God’s soldier, stand your ground and all the more when grief’s around.

Titus: Be of the word and not the world, if you conform, I will have hurled.

Philemon: Have you done wrong? Not all is lost — for you the Lord has paid the cost.

Hebrews: The Messianic Jews are told to not return to ways of old.

James: Live out your faith, yes, every day, and show the world you know the way.

I Peter: Stand for the word in spite of grief, to stomp on him who’s known as thief.

II Peter: Beware of those that spread the word and call Christ’s death and life absurd.

I John: You’re kids of God, you shouldn’t fight, once in the dark, now full of light.

II John: Just walk the walk as you’ve been called, so Christ won’t be by some appalled.

III John: Rejoice with those with God-like mind, you should be nice and warm and kind.

Jude: Please read me, it will not take long, I’m more than just a Beatles song.

Revelation: Bowls and censers, trumpets too-the wrath of God, what will you do?


God is love, and like Burma-Shave, love covers a multitude of chins.

Les Linz of Seymour writes the “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his author page. Send comments to [email protected].

No posts to display