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 143. Mind what you say

I wonder in what age a person grows up and correspondingly becomes clever? It’s difficult to say. Some people die without becoming grown-ups and correspondingly growing wiser. It’s great when they are not aware of this, they are happy, and this is the main point. I am not going to dig so deep. I would like to tell you a short story, and you are free to judge who is just stupid, and who has not become a grown-up yet, and there is still a hope. My dear mom had a brother called Anatoliy. Both, his sister, my dear mom, and my dear father, or batya, as I called him, loved my uncle Tolya, and passed on this love to me. How much welcomed he was at our place. “Tolya, please, have one more piece of goose stuffed with apples.

You just can’t have any more? I will pour cold vodka for you, and you will have it with an apple and have a goose leg together with it…” . This way, or maybe not exactly so, but quite close to it poor Tolya had always been soaked with food and drink. Tolya was a keen fisherman, and at Kedrovka we always went fishing together with him, we went to a dam to fish gudgeons, and if we were lucky, we even got a burbot. So once my uncle came to visit my parents and before dinner promised to me that we would go fishing before dawn. I was about ten years old maximum then. I was quite grown-up actually. I had my fishing rods ready since evening, and I had always had worms dug out for future use, I kept them in a special bag of significant size in a mixture of soil, humus, manure and rotten wood. The bag was in a pit, and above it there was a board, and in addition to that I was regularly watering the spot once in three days. Generally speaking, I was very well prepared for fishing. In order to wake up and not to bother anybody else, I did not use an alarm clock; I tied my foot to bed and kept waking up every hour. At about five in the morning I made my uncle wake up, and we left. It was a long way to go, so we made it right by dawn, when the day was breaking.

Fish were biting like crazy. For an hour we got almost a bucketful of gudgeons. Suddenly I saw that Tolya was vomiting. Yes, and he was so sick that even was writhing with attacks of sickness. I felt sorry for him; I ran up to him and asked what was up. And can you imagine, what the joker told me? “I have swallowed a worm.” Wow! I believed him. He was giving baloney to me saying that before you put a worm on a fish hook you had to moisten it with your own saliva.

And the best thing was to put a worm in your mouth and keep it there for a while. After that fish were biting like mad, one had to be quick to catch it. So he told me that he did not notice how he swallowed a worm, that was why he was so sick. And I, a little fool, not only believed him, but started putting worms in my mouth and after that put them on a fish hook. That was a real nightmare. Much later it was explained to me that I had been an absolute fool, and only when Anatoliy Mikhailovitch personally told me that he had had too much to drink back then, and did not want to admit that in front of his beloved nephew, so he had made up that nonsense.

However this is not the end of the story, I’ve ventured to tell you. Even though I quitted putting worms into my mouth when fishing, I had crossed the threshold of fastidiousness towards worms for my life time.
So in spring before the end of my first year at the institute, my parents had not moved to Frunze yet, they asked me to come to Kedrovka to help them plant potatoes. Of course, I came.

That time my parents were given a land lot right near water at the dam, where we usually went fishing. So I brought my fishing rods with me. We started planting potatoes; well, we had about ten holes filled, and I found a very big earthworm. It was not just red, but dark-red. So I said to my dear mom: “Here, if I put the worm in my mouth, will you let me go fishing?” My dear mom said: “You’ll never do this in your life, and if you do, then you are free to go fishing”. Batya tried to bring my dear mom to reason saying that the son of a bitch would do that one hundred per cent.

However who can bring a woman around to his point of view? Right, nobody can. So first I even felt sorry for my mom, she had an expression of such disgust and squeamishness on her face, when I put a worm on my tongue and closed my mouth. Well, I thought, what if I started vomiting, like Tolya. Though it turned out that even back then I knew that “one should be responsible for what he or she says”. My batya was aware of that as well, he allayed my apprehensions and sent me fishing.

5 July, 2012

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #214040200691

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content