The Friday Fillip

Corn today — instead of jamAs the Queen says, “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday — but never jam to-day.” Of the common grain kind, and, so, corny, which the OED tells us is

Of such a type as appeals to country-folk; rustic or unsophisticated; tiresomely or ridiculously old-fashioned or sentimental; hackneyed, trite; inferior.

Can’t claim to be a country bloke, though I am less and less sophisticated with every passing year. But I do, I confess, have a “ridiculously…sentimental” streak that I have to guard against, particularly where nostalgia is concerned.

When I was young and my dad had a Hudson (you see what I mean?) we used to drive down U.S. highways, my head out into the wind like Fido, and watch things go by. Some of those were signs for Burma-Shave, an early brushless shaving cream. Spaced maybe 50 yards apart, four or five signs would feed you doggerel one line at a time — capped by the additional Burma-Shave punch line sign.

The hero
Was brave and strong
And willin’
She felt his chin–
Then wed the villain

Burma-Shave

If harmony
Is what
You crave
Then get
A tuba

Burma-Shave

These defined what corny was. Starting in 1927 with no fun at all…

Shave the modern way
No brush
No lather
No rub-in
Big tube 35 cents drug stores

Burma-Shave

…they quickly found their metier…

Does your husband
Misbehave
Grunt and grumble
Rant and rave
Shoot the brute some

Burma-Shave

Etcetera, for nearly forty years, the last set of signs appearing in 1963, having hewed remarkably true to the corn-pome:

The chick
He wed
Let out a whoop
Felt his chin and
Flew the coop

Burma-Shave

Read ’em all at the Burma-Shave Slogans site. And then compose your own ditties on the topic of…legal research, let’s say.

She worked
On line
QL and Lexis
No book in sight
Too bad — a text is

Necessary

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