In a way it was my fault. If I hadn’t done such a good job on that resume, she wouldn’t have been hired for that job. If I hadn’t coached her on all the modern ways of answering those tricky behavioural interview questions, I could have fended off global warming.

But, oh no! I had to go for that extra 100 bucks.

In this part of the country, the provincial government has a technique to make sure that all motor vehicles comply with emission standards to protect the air mass, and thereby reduce the threat of global warming. We feel good when our vehicles pass. We are contributing positively to the environment, and we can buy our automobile insurance.

If we fail, we become enraged. We need to pay for repairs and buy three months worth of insurance and have to do it all over again next year.

Each inspection costs $45 bucks.

This morning it was my turn. I was the only customer there so they gave me the royal treatment. Normally what they do is stick a couple of probes up the tailpipe and run the engine for a while at different speeds. The detector , or sniffer, would collect the odours from the backside, and a computer would make a printout of all my noxious fumes.

This time it was different.

They approached the Focus with a computer cable, undid the access flap, looked at it, closed the access flap the, and went to the computer. A short while later, SHE appeared with my $45.

“I’ll have to reimburse your money,” she said. “We can’t get a read out of your onboard computer because your car isn’t warm enough. You need to drive it 150 km before it will go on.”

“What?”  I asked.

“Drive 150 km and come back.” She repeated. “You never gave it a chance.”

“But I drove all the way from Port Coquitlam,” I said. “Why don’t you just stick the prob up my jumper?”

“Nope, there’s no way my probe isn’t going up your dirty jumper.”

I was about to turn into one of those difficult clients you only hear about in the interview question, Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client.“But what about the environment?” I said. “I’ll be spewing 150 km worth of fumes out my jumper, and no one will have any idea what they are because you won’t use your probes.”

“It has to be warm,” she said.

“But that’s like ,,, I paused because I had no idea what it was like … Borrowing money to get an RSP so you can spend it all in your golden years paying off the bank”

“What?” she said.

“It’s like being a city worker digging a hole and filling it back in because the guy who plants the tree is off sick.”

“What?” she asked.

“It’s like taking a Pepsi Challenge to find out whether Pepsi of Coke served as the best spermicidal/antiviral douche.”

“What? She asked.

I felt that she was getting the upper hand. I took the money and drove off to another testing station where they took my money and passed my car because they noted that my engine light wasn’t on.

“You sure drive a lot.” said the technician.

“You don’t know the half of it.” I said

I think I’ll give my jumper an extra rinse this summer when I wash my car. I want to have a clean tailpipe when I need to go for a repeat performance next year. I’ll wait until the dead of summer when the reservoirs are really low. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of getting out of the resume business. It’s great when they get the job they were after, but it’s not so hot when you have to deal with them afterward.

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 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:

    So funny, Mike!
    I can relate as both a customer and a former state employee. Is your Focus so efficient that it takes 150 K to warm the engine?
    Once I went to the post office and the clerk counted out 20 stamps by tearing them off one by one and counting what was in the pile each time he added a stamp. I became so angry my husband sent me to the car.

  2. Jody Worsham Says:

    We go to Otto. If it drove in there, it “otto” pass.

  3. mikebroderick Says:

    150 km and a tank of gas. She probably put her savings into an oil and gas portfolio.

    Maybe I should redo my own resume. I’d like some savings too.

  4. mikebroderick Says:

    Jody, I took an old Suzuki Sidekich to the place once. The radiator exploded and left a slick all over the floor. I passed – even though I had to push it out.

  5. kyle Says:

    as if!

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