My Life With Gandhi

In an ecstasy of reciprocal linking, I link to ninme linking to me linking to her for her humorous anecdote about the compulsory Gandhi hagiography required for her to get into college. Which allows me to say, "speaking of brushes with Gandhi..." and tell the traumatic story of my first date.

A classmate called to say that her older brother, having seen me working the snack bar at my brother's swim meet, was smitten and demanded to be set up on a date. Well, this was flattering, but I was skeptical, not to that point having been the sort to engender masculine swooning. (More an acquired taste: the more so in adolescence, since I've always been tempermentally about 40.) Are you sure he means me? I inquired, there having been another gal present. Yes, definitely you, she insisted, "the pretty one." I remained doubtful, but suddenly he was on the phone and plans were made.

Nothing could have been more obvious from the look on his face when he arrived on the appointed day and hour than that I was not the pretty one. (Crushing!) To his credit, he recovered quickly and (I not having the prepossession to release him and be done with this awful encounter) off we went to the movies. The Outsiders. There happened to be a trailer for Gandhi, which led me to remark about something or the other he said, since Mum coincidentally had been reading a biography of him (there was a big Gandhi revival when I was a teen). Quoth he:
Oh? Like, he was a real person?
Now it was my turn to be dumbfounded and try to recover. Need I say my classmate and I never spoke of this again?

On a serious note, I think my friend is a little hard on Gandhi, who is certainly a great figure and a serious moral thinker. The peaceniks simply haven't thought hard enough about his methods. Non-violence chastens a conscience that already has a fundamentally healthy sense of human dignity; but it won't give conscience to those who have none. See here and here. And here.