Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

“Shave-and-a-Haircut…Two Bits!”

Date: 14 October 2018
Category: Current Events, Grammar, Spelling

“Shave-and-a-Haircut…Two Bits!” are the lyrics to that familiar, seven-note musical call and response couplet/refrain:


                    BUMP, BUMP!

The catchy, hare-brained* melody dates back to 1899, while the origin of the words is somewhat sketchy, but traces back to around 1933.

A barber in upstate New York, Anthony Mancinelli, can actually remember those days when he gave a haircut that cost two bits ($.25), and he is still cutting hair as he’s done for 96 years! The 107 year-old works five eight-hour days each week standing on his feet from noon until 8:00 p.m.

The rest of his bio is also unbelievable:

He has all his teeth and takes no daily medication; he’s never worn glasses; and, his hands are still steady. “No aches, no pains, no nothing. Nothing hurts me,” says Mancinelli.

He visits his wife’s grave daily, then drives to work, services his customers, sweeps up his hair clippings, cooks his own meals, and is totally self-sufficient. He still trims the bushes in his yard, and even gives haircuts to himself.

*derived from perceived qualities of the hare, usually meaning flighty, reckless

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