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 61. Bitter Sugar

"As the call, so the echo" or in another way: "The voice you sing in at the beginning will be identified with you." This is popular wisdom, and it was crystallizing out for years, even centuries, however some people use it; and other have never heard about that. Or maybe they did heard, but believe that it was not about them or for them. So as a result, there are various collisions, and not very pleasant ones are just for them.
I will revert to Vadik Pochekutov and the assembly after the fifth year at the institute. Generally speaking, in regular life Vadik had always been somewhat amorphous. However when he was in his group at the institute his amorphism did not attract any special attention of small groups of people or invoke in them desire to play a trick with it. When Vadik was brought to the assembly, he found himself surrounded by more than a hundred angry guys; they were angry not explicitly, but implicitly, as their freedom was taken away from them, they were made to wear military uniform and were settled at the area enclosed by a fence; Vadik became even more amorphous and to some extend weak-willed. He completely surrendered to the situation and the aggressive male surrounding and was following the flow according to the principle: "go where it will carry you out". Well, and the aggressive surrounding I had mentioned was on the spot and started having fun and amusing itself the way it could. Here is an example for your attention: according to the assembly's schedule, fathers-commanders had planned a night quick march for five or ten kilometers.

I do not remember exactly now, as I did not participate in it myself, but among a few I had known about it and warned those I wanted to warn. Well, and who would warn Vadik? Sure enough, nobody had shared a word with him. However at night, after he had fallen asleep,

his towel was exchanged places with a puttee. It was done by one of representatives of the aggressive surrounding, who had known about the coming night quick march. Well, and who pays attention at things during turmoil? One acts literally automatically, as one's soul is still asleep. So did Vadik, after a rouse signal he automatically wound a towel around his foot, and threw a puttee over his heck and ran to a washstand half-asleep.

And it should be said that Vadik's puttees exhaled "aroma" absolutely opposite to Channel #5 or GIO. Vadik noticed or felt nothing; he was washing up. A crowd gathered around, guys did not leave, even those who had already washed up waited for the finale; the bush telegraph had worked very well. Everybody had known that there would be a practical joke with Vadik. And the fun started: Vadik finished washing up and was wiping his face with the puttee. It looked like he felt the specific smell of feet sweat and started examining the thing he had just wiped his face with. The burst of laughter was so loud that dogs started barking at Plotnokovo village, and the officers rushed to the washstand to find out about the reason, as there was night time. Vadik was a sorry sight. He stood offended and only said: "Skunks".
Practical jokes were also played on Badri Lipartiya for his hotheadedness. However his impulsiveness was respected at the same time, and it was unlikely that someone would have played a similar joke on him.

There was also another type of reaction to the fact of being at the assembly; and a dining hall was a place where it was revealed. There were petty showdowns, when there was "not enough" soup poured into a bowl, or a piece of meat in the soup was small or instead of meat there was the so called lint (that is a cows' tendon, which goes along a backbone). I will say honestly that at my table I asked a corporal on duty (the one who was pouring the first course, dividing meat and dividing the second course) to put no meat at all into my fist course, or just put the lint into it, which everybody refused to have. So at our table arguments of that kind stopped. Do not assume that I am a vegetarian; it was just disgusting for me to hear whining and yelping of a "deprived" one. And it was significant that the whiner took a piece of meat I had given up. Perhaps I will not give his last name; that situation did not become known in the company, it was cut off within the limits of our table as well.

Well and here is a case of a scandal because of a lump of sugar.

There was a conflict, and it almost resulted in a complaint to the Department head colonel Feodorov. The process of the students' feeding was organized in the following way: those who were in charge of the kitchen put on a squad's table for ten people a pot with the first course, and pot with the second course, a kettle with tea and thirty lumps of sugar in a bowl,

Felix An

Felix An



three lumps per person. On that ill-fated day everything was going on in a regular order: the first course was eaten, the second course was put into bowls, and some guys were washing down the second course with sweet tea; they poured tea into their mugs right away, took their three lumps of sugar and dropped them into the mugs. And there measured clattering of spoons and slurping were interrupted by boringly-pitiful and one could even say whining voice of Filkov: "Nu, they can't do this often enough! Let it be once or twice, but they steal sugar every day. I had enough of that, I am going to complain to Feodorov". Then Felix An, a big, serious and handsome Korean looking guy from Tashkent got up. On a regular basis Felix was a calm guy, but at that moment he took his three lumps of sugar, approached Filkov and threw the sugar at him: "I hope you choke on it. Just stop whining and moaning and groaning in front of the company". And again, I am directing your attention to the following: Filkov picked up the sugar and put it into his mug, as if that was Felix who had stolen his sugar and then unexpectedly gave it back to him. After that incident nobody took another's sugar as well.

Of course, it is not customary to finish an essay with a depressed note, but I have to express my opinion. For five years before that we had attended lectures together, with someone we went to restaurants, with others were good buddies, but it had never occurred to us that some of us loudly and disgustingly chumped, someone started whining and nagging because of a piece of meat size in his soup (it was a symbolical one there anyway), and someone could start howling because of a lump of sugar.

And of course, we could not believe that there was someone among us who was able to take another's lump of sugar, swallow it without choking on it and after that had no courage to admit that. Among criminal prisoners this kind of behavior is figuratively called "rats' business", and the one caught in that is inescapably abused. The principle is cruel and pitiless, though it worked; the rats' business was nonsense there.

I will honestly tell you that I could have taken someone's sugar and hide it in order to give it back later; well, for instance I could have taken it from Arkashka Blyakher or Marik Golubkov, most likely from Marik, as he always understood humor and enjoyed playing jokes himself. However I had neither opportunity nor right to do so after the incident with meat; in addition to that I have never had tea with sugar. During the assembly the guys shared my sugar by turns.

The stories for the essay were kindly provided by A.G.Lopatin.

21 September, 2011

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #21207230523

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content