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 163. Chizhik-Pyzhik*

*Chizhik-Pyzhik is a name of a children’s rhyme of 19th century, which refers to students of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in St.Petersburg, Russia. The students wore uniform of yellow and green colors, which resembled the colors of a bird called the Siskin (Russian:  chizhik). Because of that, they were nicknamed Chizhiks-Pyzhiks.

Siberia is Siberia. And it is cold in Siberia in winter. I remember that it was even forty eight degrees below zero. So one definitely needs a hat in Siberia, and it’d better be warm.

And it is even better, if it is warm and fashionable. Deer-skin and mink hats were considered to be the coolest. Nutria hats were prestigious too. As for rabbit hats, even though one could not buy them in a store, everybody had them. As Raikin said (Arkady Isaakovich Raikin, 1911-1987, was a very famous Soviet stand-up comedian): “We do not like him, but he also has it”. For the first two years of the university I was parading in a rabbit hat. So when before my leaving Frunze for Kemerovo to study in the third year, my Batya in a spectacular way took out from some secret place a pale yellow nutria hat, I was absolutely happy. I was a boaster by nature and knew that I did not see a similar hat on anybody in Kemerovo.
Generally speaking, I understood very well the pride of Misha Lobanov, when he appeared in front of his friends wearing a deer-skin hat. Yeah, to get such a hat was a real act of heroism.

Only members of the CP Central Committee and CP Regional Committees wore deer-skin hats. And then Misha also did. He was literally trembling over it. To enter a canteen in a hat? Maybe majority would not do that, but Misha could not leave his pet without his personal supervision, even with guarantees of a cloakroom attendant.

His friends together with Shurik Popovitch had a suspicion that he was paying less attention to his girlfriend than to the hat. Oh, I am sorry, not just a hat, but a deer-skin hat. So if someone did not care, then Popovitch could not sleep, because of such an unfair shift of love balance from the girl to the hat, even though the deer-skin one. He just could not leave the fact without any reaction. Long before he made up his mind what to do, Kirillytch, as Sasha Popovitch was nicknamed by his friends, used any opportunity to say that, it was a big risk to wear such a hat; as they would, as sure as fate, take it off from his head. And in those days there were lots of cases of such kind in Kuzbass. Even though Criminal Code of Russian Soviet Federation of Socialist Republics classified such acts not as theft, but robbery, which was punished much more severely, bad guys were not stopped by that. So Kirillytch was shamelessly using the fact. Misha only snarled back saying, let them only try...
It was cool to wear a deer-skin hat in Kemerovo, but it was also cool to go skiing in it to Mezhdurechensk. One day a group of friends together with Kirillytch and Misha-the hat-owner went to Mezhdurechensk. They had great skiing, and on the way back there was a stop at Novokuznetsk.

Passengers all together left the bus. Some wanted to use a potty, and some wanted to buy a pie. Popovitch was bit late; he was the last to leave the bus. He too was bothered by two problems, both of the potty and the pie, and decided to resolve them starting from the first. “The small hut” as it was called buy Gennady Khazanov (Gennady Khazanov, 1945, is a Russian stand-up comedian and an actor) was located in a basement and divided into sections by plywood partitions not more than a meter high. When Kirrilytch entered the “small hut” a wave of cold air got mixed with atmosphere of the hut and filled the facility with clouds of fog. Though, even through the fog Shura Popovitch saw the familiar deer-skin hat above the partition of on one of the sections.

The plan got made by itself: while Misha was with his pants down, grab the hat and rush outside. He made a point to prove to the stubborn hat-owner that a hat could be stolen even from his head. He did like he planned. In a second Shura was outdoors with a hat in his bosom. And in another second a former hat owner darted out. He had tragicomic outlook: his hair was ruffled, coat unbuttoned, and there was nothing to say about his pants. I believe the readers have vivid imagination, so each of them can imagine a man, who worried about saving his deer-skin treasure, but not about putting his passt at least on. Misha was nearsighted, and in the frost his glasses became hoary, so he could see absolutely nothing.

Of course, Aleksander Kirillovitch Popovitch was not a scum; he approached Misha and with the words of consolation slapped on Misha’s head the loss. That was not the moment to say anything comforting. Misha was on the edge of hysterics. Later, when on the bus all the way long from Novokuznetsk to Kemerovo the friends did not feel sorry for Misha any longer, and asked Popovitch to tell again and again about the way the hat looked over the section of the “small hut”, most of all they were interested in the external appearance and details of the outlook, even more than, when Misha rushed out to catch the robber. The bus was shaking with of roars of laughter.

21 July, 2013.

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #214040300534

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content