This was a busy weekend for me. I had to take some on-line courses on violence in the workplace and prepare to defend one of my co-workers in a union issue tomorrow. As a result, please enjoy THE BALLAD OF FIRMER MEAT as my posting this week. I posted it here a couple of years ago.


Because he craved a pint of beer so early on a Saturday night,
I deduced that my pal Kevin and his girl friend had a fight.
Because he quaffed it down with such relentless vigour and haste,
I deduced that he was dumped like a vat of toxic waste.

Then over his second pint, and drinking to his health,
He said, “I’ve been on the lookout for some firmer meat myself.”
I bit my tongue and told him, “You won’t find it in this pub.
If you want firmer meat, you need to join a fitness club.”

“A fitness club,” he muttered. “A fitness club, how trite.
Narcissistic Amazons on steroids, flexing all their might.
You know me man,” he shook his fists. “I’m just not the type,
To get my hypoglycaemic butt caught up in that hype.”

“But you said firm, I told him, “And you know firm means lean,
You want to go and show yourself where you can be seen,
By women who care about their health. By women who would snub,
Guys who hang in a place like this. This greasy little pub.

“Here. Take this pass to Muscle Land, and on Monday night,
We’ll pump some iron and burn some fat, and then you’ll see I’m
That in your quest for firm lean meat, you need to change your
You must consider putting on some firmer meat yourself.

“But I don’t want to get into that morbid fitness rut,
Of straining and thrusting haemorrhoids out my tiny little butt,
But for the sake of adventure and that quest for firm lean meat,
That club is where you’ll find me – The Muscle Land Club Treat.

On Monday night he packed his shorts, and then I signed him in,
An aerobics class was almost done, another to begin.
The air was foggy and sweet with sweat, the music loud and clear.
The music stopped for Kevin to scream, “It smells like musk in

“This could be trouble,” I told myself and wrestled him to the
And dragged him to the changing room and then wedged shut the
He fluttered around the changing room like a junkie on a jag,
And pulled a brand new muscle shirt from his brand new fitness

He rummaged through his bag again and produced a plastic jock,
And locked his cowboy boots away with a combination lock.
When fully dressed he stood there, the brand new Muscle Land
Knobby knees, cut-offs, and muscle shirt. Velcro sneakers on his

“I’m ready for my work-out,” he said. “Any time you like.”
I led him to the weight room and I put him on a bike.
The bike overlooked the aerobics class full of slender women who,
Were firming their bums and flexing their pecs, and toning
appendages too.

I said, “Don’t stare,” as I caught him in a fixed hypnotic gaze.
He said, “I thought they couldn’t see me through this sweet and
misty haze.”
I said, “Staring’s never really a thoughtful thing to do,
Just pretend you’re into it, and let them come to you.

It was time to move to other things, he was warmed up now,
Sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts too. I also showed him how.
Fifteen of these, fifteen of these, and then he said to me,
“That takes too much energy. Let me just do three.”


There was someone on the leg machine, so rather than just wait,
I put him on a hamstring machine that I knew that he would hate.
I set the weights at setting ‘C’ on the leg curl table,
And put his heels under the padded bar and said, “Do ten if
you’re able.

He did ten, and happily said that he was unaware,
That he ever, in all his life, had any muscles there.
Then back to the leg press where he said to my surprise,
That women always comments on the strength of his muscular

I set the weights at setting ‘F’ and was actually impressed,
That his little pegs could stand the strain of such unnatural
“Move it up,” he shouted. “Move it up, you’ll see.
How really strong my legs are.” I set the weights at ‘G.’

We went to other torture stations to make his legs more macho,
Then to upper body machines to firm his upper torso.
It happened on the pec machine.  He met his Waterloo.
I had it set on setting ‘C’ when he said, “Move it down two!”

“Is that too heavy?” I asked, and he said “I don’t know,
But I think I’d better rest a bit, but I don’t want to go.
I’ll go to where the free weights are. Jeez my chest feels
He sat next to a blonde who flexed her arms with Herculean might.

I left him with the free weights and with the robust blonde who
Twenty kilogram dumb bells easier than Atlas balanced the world.
The blonde must have inspired his dumb bell curling gland,
When I looked back I saw he had three kilos in each hand.

He pumped them and he pumped them, and he spun his arms around,
Then he pumped them more and more and more, then he put the dumb
bells down.
Then his arms began to spin, faster than the speed of sound,
The muscled woman seemed surprised to see Kevin leave the ground.

He fluttered from the weight room to buzz the fitness class,
Back and forth and up and down, and then he made a pass,
Over the glistening instructor who mid-sit-up began to cry,
“This is odd, I’ve never had a participant learn to fly.”


The owner came into the room of steamy sweat and laughter,
Likely wondering what to do with little Kevin on his rafter.
He always thought that flying was beyond human ability,
Then he paused to ponder a promotional possibility.

“Stop the music. Come down from there. Come down from there right
I want to talk to you,” he said. “I want you to tell me how …
How did you get airborne? Was it weights? Aerobics?” he sang.
“What did you eat before you came?”  “I had a box of Tang.”

“Well never mind,” the owner said. “I want to make a deal.
I’ll sign you up for three hundred bucks. Now tell me. How do you
Kevin fluttered down and massaged an abdominal tic.
“No way, man. I want a deal like you gave Broderick.”

“I’ll do better than that,” the owner said. “I’ll let you join
for free.
If you could buzz my fitness club three times a week for me.
I’ll make you a life-time member if you could come at noon,
And fly up from the sidewalk like a promotional balloon.”

“And you can keep your velcro shoes, but those cut-offs have to
I’ll dress you up in tights.” he said. “You’ll be quite a show.”
But Kevin said that he was there in a quest for firmer meat,
Not to have some jock criticize what he was wearing on his seat.

But now he’s with his woman, no more talk of firmer meat,
No more muscle shirt, or cut-offs, or velcro sneakers on his
He won’t be back to Muscle Land ever, any more.
The truth, but here I speculate, that Kevin’s tits were sore.

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.





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