A piece of mail arrived yesterday from a place called Desert Southwest Fitness Inc.: Centre for Continuing Education. They were trying to urge me to buy some of their correspondence courses. The title of the brochure asked, “ARE YOU PREPARED TO MEET THE FITNESS DEMANDS OF AN EVOLVING POPULATION?”

I honestly don’t know how to answer that. I know something about evolution because I studied it at college. I learned that evolution has something to do with populations, and something to do with fitness – especially the survival of the fittest. Evolution concerns changes that occur to a population over time, and fitness meant, simply, getting one’s genes into the next generation. I also remember all my evolution professors waiting to see a cabbage moth turn into a Monarch butterfly. (Actually, one claimed to see this, but there was a particularly potent batch of pot on the street that year. We thought this was the perfect example of Unnatural Selection working toward evolution of enhanced THC.)

Am I missing something? Is our population of humans evolving? Is Natural Selection causing us to drift from our Homo sapiens roots? Are we starting to sprout tails?

Perhaps we have been evolving, and I may be a prime example. I had to start shaving in Grade 6 to keep my status as a tax deduction in the family. I remember my father, the tug boat captain, coming back from the accountant with tears rolling down his cheeks. In one hand he had a shoe box filled with tax forms marked “DISALLOWED.” In the other was a shoe box containing a shaving brush, a bar of soap, a leather strop, and a straight razor. “Here you go, Abe Lincoln,” he said. He had a tone of anger in his voice as he shoved the shoe box at my chest. “I want you to use it every day. Use it at night before you go to bed. That way you won’t have to gush blood all over the breakfast table.”

That was my right of passage. That March day in Grade 6 marked my transition to manhood. Too bad that was also my total training package. Do I shave with the grain or against it? What, exactly, is the purpose of the strop? How do I miss that tender spot on the cleft of my chin? If I cut myself really badly, to I use a tourniquet around my neck? Does everyone go through this on the transition to adulthood?

The answer to the last question is, “No.” All my classmates had me as a role model. You can’t go to school every day sprouting blood from forty different holes on your face without someone suspecting that you shave. It was Nosey Kenny, who sat immediately in front of me who first discovered. He thought it would be a good idea to try to embarrass me by reciting a popular television ad for a woman’s hair removal product. He turned around in his desk dodging the blood that spurted from my carotid artery just above the tourniquet. He said:

Shave Mikee, Don’t do it

Cream hair away the beautiful way with NEET


From my observation that he could barely control his mirth, I reasoned that he thought this was clever and humorous. However, a few years later I turned the tables. I became the shaving consultant for all the males in my High School. I recall I saved enough to by a fourth-hand Volkswagen Bug from the proceeds of my shaving consulting business. Evidently, we have not universally shared the secrets of shaving from father to son. I broke new ground on information I learned myself by trial and error.

I suppose there’s still room for a shaving consultant in our new evolved society. Someone has to handle that new question that has to be asked: How the hell does one shave one’s own tail?

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine, and the proprietor of The Résumé Doctor in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia


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