Fitness instructors everywhere recognize this ritual as the structure of every class: warm-up, cardio, conditioning, cool-down, and laundry. After every class, there’s laundry. No matter how basic the class or how simple the cardio, instructors everywhere reach deep into their spandex for another coin for the dryer.

 The other day, while carrying a load from the Neighbourhood Laundromat (Cecelia has banned me from our own laundry room for one hygienic indiscretion or another) , I contemplated how to declare laundry as a business expense on my income tax. “If there wasn’t a line for it on the form,” I thought, “There ought to be. My laundry budget is greater than my fitness income.”

 It was Thursday night – garbage day. I noticed a garbage bag in the lane. It vibrated. Either something inside needed to get out, or something outside needed to get in. Moving closer to investigate, I heard scratching on the other side of the bag. I reasoned that the vibration resulted from the busy scratching of some urban animal trying to break into the bag to strew rubbish all over the vicinity.

 Seeking to perform one of my public services that would look good on my resume, I sneaked up the critter and shouted, “AHA, I CAUGHT YOU RED PAWED, YOU LITTLE VAR . . .”

 I realized my mistake. The animal had black fur with vivid white stripes. Millennia of evolution and species recognition dictate that you don’t mess with black furry animals with white stripes. “AHA YOURSELF!” said the skunk as he maneuvered his hindquarters so I could receive the full impact of his presence.

 Several thoughts enter one’s mind after a skunk spraying. The most prominent one is about tomato juice. “Get tomato juice,” I said to myself as I darted up the street to the grocery store that was about to close.

 “I NEED TOMATO JUICE,” I said to the grocer while rattling the bars on the doors he just locked.

 “Stay out,” he said, gasping for air. “I’ll get it for you.”

 He returned with a forty-eight once can. “I need more,” I said. “I’ll pay you later. I spent all my money on the laundry.” 

 The grocer didn’t argue. He returned with two more cans. “What do you use for detergent?” He asked.

 Anecdotally, people always tell you that tomato juice is good for skunk spray, but they don’t tell you what to do with it. Do you drink it and wait for the wonders of digestion to carry it to your skin to stifle the skunk molecules? Do you bathe in it and apply the skunk smothering juice directly to the perfume?  Either way, how do you get the juice out of the can without a can opener. Nobody carries a can opener on laundry day, and I couldn’t march my skunk-soaked carcass into my house.

 I opted to wash myself off with it in the alleyway using my sprayed laundry as an applicator and the blade of my trusty Swiss Army Knife as an opener.

 By Friday evening, most of the smell disappeared. An aftertaste, however, lingered. Food still tasted like a skunk. In class, everyone noticed the red splotches on my spandex gear, but nobody got close enough to ask.

 Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.
He is 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, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. 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.




  1. Sharon Says:

    Hilarious/tragic! Sounds like you made a good decision about how to use the tomato juice, since most of the smell went away. Laundry expenses are deductible under misc. business expenses. Just keep a tab. FYI, I wouldn’t put spandex in a dryer, esp. a commercial one. Dry on a hanger. The spandex will last longer. Great job, Mike.

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