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 96. REAR

It's always easy to write about Zhenya Romashov. No matter what sphere of student life I start recollecting, he was for sure a participant or at least a witness of the event. He just could not be a passive participant or a passive witness. His exuberant disposition did not allow him to be that way. He liked to be the leader or at least the most active participant. So the events I want to tell you about now absolutely could not happen without him. The following took place. Approximately in our third year an enigmatic society was formed in our group. Its members were not everybody who was interested.

One had to prove that he deserved to be a member of the society. We were different from other groups of the Therapeutic Department in a way that there were mainly guys in our group, and not just guys, but handsome men!

Well, who would argue that Arkashka Blyakher was not a handsome man? His nickname was: "a red-haired womanizer". And if to consider that he was very comfortable in communication and knew a whole lot of jokes, one can easily see that he was a notable person in any crowd. And what about Vagram Agadzhanyan? He was tall, solidly built, distinguished-looking and also was skillfully using his Caucasian accent. He used to bring specific flavor to any party. Well, and what about Zhenya, Sasha Salmayer! Generally speaking, our guys enjoyed deserved attention of those groups where majority were girls and there was shortage of guys. So those girls' groups used to invite our guys at all kinds of parties arranged on any occasions: birthdays, passing of exams and tests, etc. As a rule interesting and funny situations and episodes happened at those parties. We made an agreement between us to tell each other about those episodes, and not just tell, but describe them in writing. Nobody wanted to simply write reports. So Zhenya had an idea to form an enigmatic society in our group and name it "REAR", which was deciphered as "Really Enigmatic Alcoholic Rangers". We did not know the whole meaningfulness of the word "alcoholic" back then, but we liked it and tried it on without any second thought. However there was controversy concerning the name of the society from the time it was started to the moment of its breakup.

Vagram and I believed that it was better or at least more impressive to say not "Really Enigmatic Alcoholic Rangers", but "Alcoholics' Secret Society", as we were good for nothing alcoholic rangers in those days.

And the abbreviation sounded much more expressive, than REAR. Unfortunately Vagram and I were in minority, other members of the society: Zhenya Romashov, Arkasha Blyakher and Olya Ptitsyna (yes, there was a girl among us) expressed an opposite opinion. They did not like Vagram's and my proposal.

There were so many general meetings of the society dedicated to the very issue, which we conducted at the "Kuzbass" restaurant or later at the "Sovremennik" cafe; there were so many weighty arguments expressed and listened to in the form of toasts from both sides! Nevertheless the consensus was not reached. Vagram and I even decided to play a trick. Back then, when communist ideology was paying lip service to the democratic ideals, we unconditionally conformed to the majority. However democracy presupposes a right to express one's own opinion and uphold it using any legal means.

So Vagram and I developed an insidious plan; we started inviting to our general meetings at a restaurant or any other place non-members of the society and offered them to express their opinion on the issue of its name. It was significant that all the invited liked the name of "Alcoholics' Secret Society" and its abbreviation much more.

Nevertheless, the parasite Zhenka, who absolutely did not mind inviting non-members, though as the author of the first name of "Really Enigmatic Alcoholic Rangers", was absolutely against the re-naming and did not approve of informing outsiders about internal problems of the society. He was a stubborn one, but Vagram and I wanted that everybody knew about our REAR at the Therapeutic Department. We even were handing in our written reports about parties we had attended not at seminars, but during lectures, in order to make the message go through many hands and be read before it reached one of the members. And we intentionally chose the one who sat further away from us. For some reason I am sure that the readers are curious about our notes. I do not remember all one hundred per cent of the reports, only the most dramatic. I cannot tell about what we were writing each other in those reports. This is personal. Sure enough, we fibbed in order to bring one's status a bit higher than a baseboard.

Anyway, I will honestly say about myself, I fibbed. No, I did not lie, but fibbed. Well, it was like spice for food, one could eat it without spice, but it was much tastier with the spice. Vagram also fibbed, and Zhenka never did so.

He always sharply rebuked me every time he caught me. Forget about him, it is because of him that the society of "Really Enigmatic Alcoholic Rangers" (REAR) broke up in 1972, after our students graduated from the institute, and never became the "Alcoholics' Secret Society" (ASS). Just imagine, if the abbreviation of the society's name was changed, how much impressive would be the title of the essay then!

07 January, 2012.

© Copyright: Oleg Syedyshev, 2012
Publishing licence #213101900991

Translated by Viktoria Potykinato content