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 157. Cond'omer

So if you believe that Arkashka Bliakher was a poor and miserable student, then you are very wrong. Yes, I admit and confess that he was a target of practical jokes and pranks; including those played by me. However, did anybody poured salt by spoons into his soup, like it was done to Dimka Mkheidze? Or did anyone put a spoke bone under his bottom before he sat down? And with a sharp end up, like for Zhenka Romashov. Or was he mocked at, like Vadick Pochekutov, during the assembly? No, no and no again. I will tell even more – nobody put a dead frog into his briefcase, like to Slavka Sizikov. Why – I do not know. Maybe they liked him? Or maybe he was respected. I am not going to guess. There is one thing I know for sure – Arkadiy himself was the one who never missed a chance to play pranks at his close ones. Let me tell you about everything in order.
Group eighteen, and later fourteen, was, generally speaking, a group of though the guys, but the ones striving for knowledge.

Most of us regularly worked in a reading room at the main building of the institute. Among regular visitors of the reading room I would name myself, Arkadiy Bliakher, and Slavka Sizikov. However, if I was a regular visitor, then Arkadiy was also a diligent visitor, which cannot be said about Slavka.

He went to the reading room on a regular basis. As a matter of fact he lived one hundred meters away from the main building. Though when he was in the reading room he was constantly hanging around the tables and annoyed everybody with all kinds of rubbish, then he was cadging cigarettes from them. And it is still a secret what brought the group monitor of our group Valeriy Kaigorodov to the reading room on that day. Slavka Sizikov was absolutely happy – Valera was his friend, and he always treated him to cigarettes without a murmur, so he did not have to fool people in order to ask, as if incidentally, for a cigarette later.
So after two or three smoke breaks Valera and Slava approached Arkadiy and me with a question: “Where is it possible to get Esmarch’s tourniquet?”

For your information I will say that this is a known to everyone rubber compression bandage used to stop bleeding of lower and upper extremities. Though Valera named it by its inventor’s name and could not explain what it was. And there the initiative was taken by Arkashka. He demonstratively slapped himself on his forehead and exclaimed: “This is the cond’omer”. Valera asked suspiciously: “A condom?”. But Arkashka persuasively explained to him that a condom so to say was a condom, but a cond’omer was an Esmarch’s tourniquet. Arkadiy’s reputation was somewhat different from mine. If I’d started saying that Esmarch’s tourniquet was a cond’omer, Valera would’ve never believed that whatsoever. Arkasha was quite different; nobody expected a mean trick from him. However Arkadiy also got carried away and started developing the trick.

He announced that a day before he saw a cond’omer at a #9 drugstore, which was a hundred meters away from the institute. And even more to that, Arkadiy declared that they were buying cond’omers fast, so it was risky to delay the purchase. So he suggested immediately going to the drugstore to buy it. Those sitting around were listening to our conversation. They immediately realized that that was a prank and started persuading Valera that cond’omers were not easy to find, and if he needed one, it had to be bought. Kolya Kozlov even stated that he was going to the drugstore to get the very tourniquet. That had an effect of a trigger, so Valera said that he would be back in ten minutes and asked to watch his books. Though who would do the watching? Everybody who was aware of what was going on also started for the drugstore as if to get the very Esmarch’s tourniquet. When the crowd went out of the institute, Valera demanded that he would be the first one to buy the cond’omer, as it was he, who started talking about it. Everybody agreed, only Kolya insisted that in that case he would be the second in the line. So talking that way we barged into the drugstore. At the counter there was standing a young woman. I cannot bring myself to describe the way she looked. And it is even not because of her appearance, but because of the disdainfully arrogant expression of her face. Later Arkasha Bliakher said about her: “She wanted to be a flight attendant…”, but that was later. When we lined up behind Valera and prepared to listen, the unaccomplished flight attendant asked Valera through her clenched teeth, what he wanted? Valera vigorously and a bit provocatively announced: “a cond’omer”.

The flight attendant grew dumb with astonishment: “What?”. “A cond’omer”, - Valera said again with an accent on “o” in a squeaky falsetto voice. It was interesting to watch the face of the pharmacist-flight attendant. For some reason it started slowly turning red and literally became of color of a beetroot. Nevertheless she did not lose her self-control and uttered slowly and distinctly to Valera that she recognized the group as students of the medical institute, and that they had to know that correctly it had to be said not a cond’omer, but a condom. And that colloquially that was also called a rubber. Then she insidiously asked, what exactly Valera needed: a condom or a rubber? Everybody laughed out loud together. Everybody, except for Valera. There were tears in his eyes.

Valera left without saying a word. For two weeks Valera did not speak with anyone of us, even with his close friend Slava Sizikov.

25 February, 2013

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #214040300517

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content