Going completely to pot

I have been told by people from the publishing world that I need an Instagram account.

Otherwise nobody will learn about or feel like reading my book.

Dutifully, I have obliged and have taken a bunch of bewildering steps to open said account.


I have no idea what to do next.

At last report, I had one follower. A dog. Fiona the dog.

Fiona has a handle. A term that I thought only applied to car doors or croquet mallets.


I have also been told to implore people to “follow” me on Instagram. So I beg you to do so, though I may lead you down the proverbial garden path.

I met a man who lost his mind
In some lost place I had to find

“Follow me”, the wise man said

But he walked behind.

-Leonard Cohen “Teachers”

I really don’t know what Instagram is. If pushed, I can probably define the word telegram. I do know about Carnation Instant Breakfast.

I’ve also been instructed to use something called hashtags. Am I supposed to smoke them?

Anything resembling hash reminds me of my hippie days. Once upon a time, about 500 years ago, I ingested a lot of hash.

(I’m allowed to say that now, right? Hash – and hashtags – are legal in today’s Canada anyway!)

We used to stick our hash on a little pin, put it under a glass, light it, then pull back the glass, stick our face under it, and inhale.

I would get tremendously high.

Some people have very little reaction to these now legal substances. But when I smoke or otherwise ingest cannabis-based products, I ascend straight to the stratosphere, like a roaring rock and roll rocket.

I become a graphomaniac, scribbling in gibberish, and find such profundity in music that I blubber ecstatically or disappear into an isolated tempest of dark and portentous thoughts.

(My friends tell me that these phenomena erupt because I am a Pisces.)

Back in the early ‘70s, my friend Andy and I would “smoke up” and watch bad tv shows and idiotic commercials on purpose in order to laugh uncontrollably. Pot consumption reduced our IQs by at least 20%.

We even drove to Buffalo New York to meet the used car dealer whose late-night commercials we adored.

(The dealer was away on vacation.)

My poor mother was only too aware of my hippie-era pot proclivities.

When I was about 18, she would always wait for me to return home from nocturnal forays and watch aghast as I stormed past her and raided the fridge and the pantry for cheap ice cream and store-bought cookies such as Oreos that tasted simply heavenly due to the hash.

My mom religiously read Reader’s Digest, which terrified her with hair-raising reports of Reefer Madness. She was sure that I would end up a dazed lout on a seedy commune.

Mom’s fears weren’t entirely misplaced. My cannabis consumption unleashed a vast reservoir of welled-up anxiety, turning it from a trickle to a deluge.

Paranoia strikes deep

Into your life it will creep

It starts when you’re always afraid

Step out of line, the men come and take you away…

-Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth


In November of 1972, I met my THC Waterloo.

A motley crew of friends and fellow travelers gathered in my apartment on November 7, 1972, to watch the US election results roll in, as Richard Nixon won the presidential election in an unprecedented landslide.

Anti-Vietnam-war peaceniks all, we were simply devastated.

The only solace was a massive plateful of scrumptious hash brownies.

Devouring these pot-laced treats caused me to drown in an ocean of anxious obsessions and to hear voices, including a stentorian declaration that asserted, “The I that I am is my brain.”

(This is where I would have needed a life coach, but that’s a whole other story!)

That voice has persisted ever since.

Thus ended my halcyon days of getting potted…

Until March 2020.

The March madness of nearly four years ago infused our entire family with near terminal anxiety.

Seeing me become grizzled and haggard from angst, my older son bought me a special present for my Pisces birthday …a pot-pourri of delectable THC edibles.

I duly downed a delicious cannabis cookie before reading the instructions; I had devoured five times the recommended quantity, leading to a massive overdose.

I remained stoned, ripped, buzzed, couch-locked, blitzed, and wasted for three whole days, listening to “oldies but goldies” and watching vintage movies, in particular The Great Escape.



I couldn’t escape from the Great Escape. It unfolded so slowly, like a river of molasses, seemingly for days, and the characters spoke so strangely, barking clichés, especially the caricatured German villains.

This waking nightmare definitively forced me off the pot.

Now it’s high time, as it were, to begin another excruciating ordeal: learning to master Instagram.

Can anyone out there help?


This sketch will be included in a proposed new book titled It’s all in the condiments.


Robert McBryde Author: needing a life coach, book launches, Instagram, assisted self-publication, why do I write, the absurd, history, art, poetry, CBC radio, literary non-fiction, vignettes and sketches, immigrant experience, living in Quebec and in France, childhood and animal stories, creative memoirs, satire, autobiography, family relations, raising children, aging, travel, social commentary, love and marriage, driving lessons, self-deprecation, Dijon France, condiments, translation: English-French; French-English

Publisher’s Note: Funny, manic, and wistful… self-deprecating creative nonfiction…The author, Robert McBryde, a professional translator, has been compared to David Sedaris for the sometimes-snarky autobiographical satire characterizing his literary sketches. Many of the stories in his new book, titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, have been featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio network.

Author Robert McBryde

Author’s Note:
I’ve written a new book of creative non-fiction titled My Time with You Has Been Short but Very Funny, recently published and now on the market. The book is based on stories that I told over the years as a writer/ broadcaster and host on CBC radio based in Quebec City, Canada.

The book is available via my website. The purchase links are at the bottom of the home page.


I will post two blogs per week, normally Wednesday and Friday afternoons at around 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). Stay tuned!