I always got the strap in school. If a week went by without my feeling the business end of the machine belting they used to prevent people from becoming violinists  or pianists, I would try harder the next week. They strapped me for a variety of reasons, the most notable of which included:

  • Going up the down staircase in Grade Nine
  • Washing Mandy Goodies pretty tootsies in the sink in the biology lab in Grade 11, and
  • Blurting out things that in retrospect ought to have been unblurted throughout my academic career

 The best of the blurtings occurred in Grade 4. It was just before the Easter break. Miss Wetzel announced  that when we  returned after Easter, she would be known as Mrs. Merit.

“When will be able to see all the little demerits?” I blurted.

 I single-handedly snatched her from her fantasy of anticipating prenuptial  bliss and into the reality of a smelly little brat in the back row. I noticed lipstick on her teeth as she grabbed me by the ear and hauled me into the hallway where her co-conspirator, Mr. Webber, put me in a full nelson as my palms were spanked again.

 Later, when I was a teacher in a world where corporal punishment has been outlawed, I kept thinking, “Jeez I was an ass.”

 While they banned spanking for children, they kept it for adults – only in a different form. Tickets!

 The Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) installed hundreds of cameras at hundreds of intersections across BC to catch people running red lights. Offenders would be sent their spankings in the mail – to the tune of 167 smackers.   I suppose all those strappings, spankings and shellackings  I experienced over the years  paid off. I haven’t received a ticket for running a red light in five decades of driving.

 I worry about it though.

 When I putter to an intersection and the light changes yellow, I boot it to the other side – while peering through the rear view mirror to see the flash.

 Then I learned on a radio interview while stopped at the corner of Main and Terminal in Vancouver – arguably the longest light in the universe where I’ve witnessed people turn into skeletons in the left hand turn lane, the exact position your car has to be before triggering the camera. According to the ICBC spokesman, the front wheels need to be actually across the line as the light turns red.

 This means there is no longer a reason to boot it in an intersection. In fact, I could enter on the amber, stop in the middle, and thumb my nose at the camera.

 But that would be a strapping offence, and I heard that one of Mrs. Merit’s progeny grew up to be a cop.

 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 does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at or at 604-464-4195.  If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.



  1. Sharon Says:

    Well, Mike, I think you’d better be careful or the little demerit will get you. Another good job.

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