If you ask anyone who knows anything about the space-time continuum about time machines, they are likely to tell you a bunch of hooey about the fourth dimension and continuum curves, and generally make about as much sense as a cellular phone salesman selling the concept of unlimited plans.

On the other hand, if you ask an archaeologist about time machines, their eyes will roll backwards in reminiscence about what vehicle transported them to their first archaeological site.

In my case, it was a 1970 GMC Suburban with the words University of British Columbia – ARCHAEOLOGY stencilled on the door.
This was a deluxe time machine. It seated up to eight fellow time travellers with room for enough stuff to investigate the most delicate questions of bygone days.

The time machine had earned the nickname “Lurch,” because it had a semi automatic transmission in it. That meant that it had an automatic transmission that only worked half the time. There was a hesitation before Lurch moved from first to second gear that could cause the uninitiated passenger a mild case of whiplash.

Over the years, I had the privileges of piloting Lurch to several time venues. I guided it to St Mungo, a cannery of the Fraser River that took us back to 13,000 years ago the beginning of a thriving salmon industry sometime after the last glaciations. We went back 2000 years to Crescent Beach in Surrey, BC where people lived and died back then, and left a midden full of shells to prove it.

It took us to the Pitt River Site in Port Coquitlam where the inhabitants made ornaments and food the people of the area never used – apparently to trade to the Haida about 500 years ago.

Lurch allowed us to examine the early trade amongst ancient people of the Northwest Coast. One of the tasks I had was developing a comparative reference collection of bones from different animals. That way, when I dug one up, I could identify it.

Getting skeletons meant getting dead animals. The manager of the Puntlidge River Hatchery called me offering 40 spawned-out Chinook salmon. Lurch and I went over and got them. On the way back we stopped off at the BC Provincial Museum in Victoria and traded a few for a beaver, a headless sea lion, a bald eagle, a golden eagle, a black bear, and a mule deer.

I lined them all up in Lurch’s cargo compartment so the could all see out the windows – except the headless sea lion. The world got to see the other end of that one.

We traded some more fish for future considerations at the University of Victoria, and on the way home, I spotted a striped skunk on the side of the road. I put it in a a garbage bag with the rest of the menagerie. Then I drove to Simon Fraser for more trading.

The curator there was expecting us, and jumped backwards faster and farther that Lurched ever lurched forward as he mephitic odour of skunk filled the air of the loading bay.

Another incident earmarked the intolerance to a lunchtime beer that would be endured. Back in the days of Lurch, it was commonplace to have lunchtime beers then return to work and pretend actual work was getting done. It wasn’t – until the head of the Archaeology Department caught Lurch in the parking lot of the Fraser Arms Hotel. It was sitting fender -to-fender with a cute Volkswagen Rabbit sipping double STPs Several decades later, we have the hybrid.

But it was not all fun and games. Sometimes Lurch would give us glimpses of life as it would be in the future. In one instance, we learned that we would have to begin translating imperial measures to metric. Once I was driving lurch through an area of the Downtown East Side in Vancouver. A police officer pulled alongside me and said. “If you think I’m not going to write you a ticket for doing 35 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, you’ve got rocks in your head as well as that truck.”

Mike Broderick WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he FOUND employment for people with physical disabilities.
He remains an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade 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 604-464-4105
If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates .
Happy New Year! Apparently 22% of companies in the Greater Vancouver area will be hiring within the next month. Get your resumes ready.


One Response to “THE TIME MACHINE”

  1. Sharon Says:

    So funny, Mike. Such experiences you’ve had. Great story. Noticed a few typos. But, that might just be my not quite awake eyes missing or mis-identifying letters. Loved the part about Lurch sipping STP with the VW cutie.

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