More years ago than I’d care to admit, I spent four months as a Russian language exchange student in what was then the Soviet Union. One night I went to a hockey game – the local team against the Red Army team – and, as was customary at all public venues there, not only theaters or museums, we had to check our coats as we entered the arena.
After the game, I gave my coat check to the grizzled, WWII veteran (conspicuously bedecked with military ribbons), and he grumpily went off to get my coat. I was honestly out of money that night – not a single kopeck for a tip. Instead, after he handed me his coat, I offered a cheerful “Spasibo!” (Thank you!)
He looked at me, shook his head dismissively, and growled, “Spasibo, my friend, doesn’t fill the vodka glass!” Continue reading