Syedyshev Oleg
Syedyshev Oleg

Humorous Essays Based on students' memories

"All have died
except for those who are alive, and those whom we remember"Confucius

Essay 131. Feminine logic

When after my graduation from the institute I was placed on a job of a surgeon at Chashi district hospital, it seemed to me that I got to such godforsaken place that I felt like crying "Help, I'm in panic". However if to have a closer look at the situation, then it turned out that to the regional center, Kurgan, there were only fifty kilometers along a decent asphalt road. Nevertheless the village of Chashi itself was a genuine Russian village with wooden houses and very special mud out in the streets. It was kind of greasy and was not washed down with water, but smeared on high boots and got stuck to them like plasticine. Generally speaking it was an absolute nightmare.

However when I changed my medical specialization and moved to work at Kurgan regional mental hospital, which was though called Novopetropavlovskaya and its official postal address was in a village of Novopetropavlovka, was actually located three kilometers away from it in a village of Malinovka. Doctors lived on the territory of the hospital in excellent cottages. That was the place where one could really cry for help. It was 180 kilometers away from Kurgan, and the asphalt road was laid only to Shadrinsk, and it was absolutely impossible to walk or to drive from it to Shadrinks in a rainy weather. Maybe it was not bad for the mental hospital to be so isolated from the civilization, but the staff, to put it mildly, felt depressed. So we were looking for any kind of entertainment the way we could. At the hospital I made close friends with Vitya Loitsker. He was a smart doctor, his mind was like modern Wikipedia, its medical part. He was on a regular basis addressed by his colleagues with many questions about kinds of symptoms, and in what cases they could be manifested. So Viktor Markovitch with kind jokes very clearly explained to an inquisitive one the details of the question. As soon as Vitya was a god father of my transition to psychiatry, he became committed to make a real psychiatrist out of me. Though I am talking not about this now, but about Victor's making me enjoy active free time passing. I had no inclination to hunting, but picking up mushrooms and berries as well as fishing were my favorite pastime.

Mushrooms picking was a trivial mechanic work in that area. There were so many mushrooms, that one could afford to be picky. For instance, I liked to pick up milk mushrooms and took only those which had caps of not less than five centimeters in diameter. I remember how happy my Batya was when I sent him those mushrooms as a present; and he put them on the table together with good vodka and onion and vegetable oil to treat his guests on holidays and never forgot to explain that the mushrooms were sent to him by his son from Kurgan. My Batya lived in Kirghizia, in Frunze, so those mushrooms were quite popular there.
As for berries picking, things were a bit different in that case. In spring during the time of blossoming of wild strawberries and sheepnoses Vitya and I drove on our bikes around the nearby fields and clearings and forest edges and checked where lots of berries were in blossom and took stock of what we found out. And when the berries turned ripe, we knew exactly where to go; no wonder I usually had minimum two sacks of dried wild strawberries stocked for winter, and it is not like regular strawberry. In winter kissels and fruit soups made of wild strawberries had such appetizing smell, and they were wonderfully delicious, just finger-licking good.

And my last hobby was fishing. God awarded Kurgan region with about ten small lakes, where there were crucian carps and peled fish (northern whitefish). And the crucian carps grew up to one and a half or two kilos, and I liked them very much when baked in home made sour cream. They were not crucian carps, but a song, a very sincere and lyrical one. The carps also had prominent anti-dysphoric effect; if one sat down eating in low spirits, then after lunch he left the table a happy and relaxed person, whose life was just wonderful.

Preparation to fishing was started long before. During a week we checked our fishing nets and fishing rods. All the hospital knew that Loitsker and Syedyshev were going fishing. Patients-fishermen, who were in their remission stage, fixed our nets, if that was necessary. We went fishing obligatorily with an overnight stay, as a rule on Friday after work. The algorithm was a well established one; we came to the spot, erected a tent, then went in a boat to put our own fishing nets. I underline the word "our own", because according to the local customs it was allowed to take fish from somebody else's nets, which had already been in the water, to make a bucket of fish soup, which we never failed to do. After that there was a campfire and fish soup. That was obligatory. Generally speaking, the fishing trip was arranged quite often specifically because of it; a bucket of fish soup with alcohol or vodka, night and endless chatting, and we always had topics for the chats we had. In the morning there was fishing with fishing rods, right after the daybreak till night. We returned home in the evening on Saturday or on Sunday, if we felt like continuing talking at the fire after having fish soup. So during one of those chats Viktor offered me to go to Sverdlovsk (that was how present Yekaterinburg was called back then) instead of fishing. I had a weakness for adventures like that, and in addition to that I made up my mind to introduce Vitya Loitsker to Zhenya Romashov, who lived in Kamensk-Uralsk on the way to Sverdlovsk. So said so done, to cut it short. The first trip was a success, Vitya and I visited Sverdlovsk and on the way back made a stop at Zhenya Romashov's place in Kamensk-Uralsk. However greed ruined many guys, so it did not spare Vitya and me. We liked the first trip so much that we were about going "fishing" on the next weekend as well. When we came back Vitya did not like right away that his wife Lidiya Aleksandrovna was hanging around garages. She as if happened to be there by chance at the moment of our arrival. When we were coming out of the car in dirty fishing clothes, Lidiya Aleksandrovna kind of incidentally told me that she did not advise me to give my razor to Loitsker, as he had problem face skin, so I could get the same problem. First Vitya and I did not pay attention to the prelude. However, the more, the better, then she became surprised that more than a half of what we had caught were peled, as before we had been happy if managed to catch two or three. Yeah, Vitya and I were not good to be Stierlitz (is the lead character in a popular Russian book series written in the 1960s by novelist Yulian Semyonov and of the television adaptation Seventeen Moments of Spring. The character has become a stereotypical spy in Soviet and post-Soviet culture, similar to James Bond in Western culture.) and Sorge (Richard Sorge, 1895 – 1944, was a German communist and spy who worked for the Sovuet Union) for sure. We became very well aware of that. Two idiots came after two days of fishing in a lake well shaved. And instead of buying from the fishermen we'd known carps, in order to show off we bought peled. And Lidiya, a "KGB officer", continued bringing to light our trick. She praised us for not only drying out our fishing nets but carefully packing them. As usually we brought a tangle of fishing nets. She asked Viktor: "And where were you fishing this time?" Vitya without a moment's thought replied: "In Solmanovka". "And how much vodka did you take with you?". "A bottle per person".

And there Lidiya Aleksandrovna taught us a lesson of logical thinking.
"So, Solmanovka is eighteen kilometers away from here. A round trip will make thirty six, let's round off to forty. Two nights at a camp fire and with fish soup; you did not have enough vodka for sure. In a store in Solmanovka there is only "Solntse Dar" (wine) available, and you want only vodka, so you went to Dolmatovo. This is forty kilometers both ways. Totally it makes eighty kilometers. And if to believe your speedometer you made three hundred and sixty kilometers. Here is a question for you: where, tell me, please, you had such a successful fishing of peled?"
Vitya and I were standing dumb-founded and at the same time impressed by the feminine logic. That was how in a simple and easy way we were demonstrated to be complete boobies.

If you, my dear readers, are curious, whether Vitya and I went fishing after that, think for an answer yourself, you are the smart ones!

21 September, 2012

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #214040200553

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content