Robert McBryde Author: 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, 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.

Apparently the Indigo platform has not yet been activated.

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

Here are some excerpts from a published vignette about my childhood terror of going to hell. You can read the entire sketch in my new book.

I swear… I’m going to Hell!
“Under certain circumstances, profanity provides relief denied even to prayer.” Mark Twain

Ever since I remember, I’ve always had a tendency to curse and swear. This proclivity may stem from the fact that during my illustrious childhood my mother would wash my mouth out with soap and water whenever I uttered a “filthy word.” Some of my earliest memories involve actual talk bubbles emerging from the offending orifice. On the profanity front, my mom was extremely prim and equally literal minded: a “dirty mouth” simply had to be scrubbed. She herself used only euphemisms of the “darn,” “what the heck,” “crumbs,” and “baloney” variety. In reaction, I learned to shun these watered-down substitutes and to go for the foulest cursing combos I could muster.

 

The problem was that at about six years old I became convinced that my vile mouth would lead me straight to hell. Around that time, the local United Church to which my parents belonged hired a new minister of the fire and brimstone variety. Back then, as is still the case today, the United Church of Canada had the reputation of being a sort of religious drugstore where adherents were free to choose their own spiritual medicine on a self-serve basis. But the new pulpit thumper was of the old school. He threatened all parish “sinners” with the “ eternal torments of hell.” The deity of his predecessor was a Cosmic Muffin, but Reverend Fleming’s God was definitely a Hairy Thunderer.*

At that point I decided that I was doomed to spend the afterlife roasting like a chicken on a perpetually rotating spit. Cursing and swearing had sealed my fate. There was a hierarchy of “swears” and I used all of them, whether verbally or as part of my secret stream of consciousness. First in infamy came the “F Word,” followed by “taking the Lord’s name in vain.” Then came excremental evocations and lastly references to the nether realm, which I was seemingly doomed to inhabit.

In those days, our lives were permeated with religion, but the jargon was somewhat opaque for a seven year old kid to grasp: “thy” and “thou” and ye” and “art” and “shalt not.” “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife!” railed Reverend Fleming. WTF?

We repeated The Lord’s Prayer incessantly, at church and at school.

Our Father, which art in heaven… forgive us our trespasses…

Forgive us our trespasses? I thought that I would go to hell for sneaking under the barbed wire and across the railway tracks where a sign had been posted indicating that trespassers would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

It was around this time, at the age of about seven, that I concocted a plot to avoid frying for eternity. I decided on a “prayer for every swear” policy. This entailed developing a fully operational calculus of the relative value of each swear word, with the F Word meriting 20 repeated prayers and the others a less lengthy litany, on a descending scale. (Special prayer clusters were developed for cussing combos.) This meant that my sleeping was seriously curtailed. I swore profusely during the day, and at night I fervently prayed, over and over again:

“Gentle Jesus, please forgive thy little lamb for swearing. I promise to be a better boy. The Lord is my shepherd and has a clean mouth. Amen.”

I have been an insomniac ever since those turbulent days of religious torment.

I also informed my parents that I wanted to be a minister when I grew up. I figured that the Hairy Thunderer would take this career move into account when the day of reckoning inevitably arrived.

My hellish problems were compounded by the fact that I sang in our church’s junior choir. This meant that I donned a gown every Sunday and sat in the loft directly behind Reverend Fleming…and right next to his son Jamie, a somewhat older boy who picked me out quite quickly as a fellow heller. While his dad inveighed against all sinners, Jamie would take the hymn book and the Holy Bible and search out titillating terms and names. Anything with a ludicrous ring or a remotely sexual connotation caused us to cackle wildly. Horatius Bonar. Longfellow. Shem, Ham, and Japheth. “May the Lord strike you with Egyptian boils and with tumors, scabs and itch for which you will find no cure” (Deut. 28: 27). “Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies’” (Samuel 18:25-27). My reaction to those 100 foreskins closed the book on any putative redemption.

My parents were mortified by this sacrilegious behaviour in plain sight of the congregation. And my ticket for eternal perdition was irrevocably punched.

*With a nod to Deteriorata by National Lampoon

If you purchase a book via the platform of your choice, please leave a review!

And if you have comments about my blog posts, I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me via my website, and I’ll get back to you asap. That’s a promise!

Here is a link to a cool group book review blog:

My Time With you Has Been Short But Very Funny by Author Robert McBryde

And this is a link to Goodreads. A great place for reading about new books and reviews.

And finally Amazon…
https://www.amazon.ca/review/R3MW2053VHY1M3/ref=pe_1086170_134824320_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

 

Happy reading! 😊
Your friend,
Robert