I was digging though some boxes in my laundry room yesterday and – lo and behold! – I found the long lost Speculatory* Essay and Poetry Series.
These poems and essay sprung forth from two overly creative yet bored spirits while they were trying to stay awake in US 301, Comparative Civilization.
For our first selection, I offer an essay penned by yours truly. It is quite clear I was inspired by a riveting discussion on the events of turn-of-the-century India. I was doing an admirable job of taking notes when my classmates and collaborator, Brad, leaned over and asked, “What if your mom had named you Gandhi?”
If My Mother Named me Gandhi
A Speculatory Essay
If my mother named me Gandhi, I would probably resent her and count the days until I turned 18. Then I could legally change my name. I don’t really mind it, but the spelling trips people up. I might go with something like “Gawndee” or “Gondi.” I dunno, something phonetic. For the sake of simplicity, I’d change my middle initial to “R.” and my last name to “Jones.”
I would have a lisp and a turquoise ring on my finger.
I would wear peasant homespun wraps as I went on about my Gandhi-licious life. I would usually wear boxers underneath my peasant homespun wraps, and go commando on occasion. I’d wear sandals and occasionally I would get rocks stuck under my feet. I’d seriously consider adopting shoes that not only give me more ankle support, but kept the rocks out. Maybe some Sketchers.
And, just like my namesake, I’d espouse the concepts of ahimsa (non-violence), satyagraha (civil disobedience) and dharma (right conduct).
With a name like Gandhi, people would expect me to be different. This would be reflected in my computer usage. I would own an iMac, which is very computer-like. I’d also be really Internet savvy. You should check out my blog.
I’d be a born leader. At my high school in South Africa, I’d be elected homecoming King and would be a candidate for prom king. I wouldn’t win though because I would wear a homespun peasant wrap to the dance instead of a tux. People would laugh but it’s OK ‘cause I’d have a hot date. I’d also be co-captain of the cricket team.
I’d secretly love Monty Python movies but I’d be obliged to reject them in public as a holdover of British hegemony.
There’s a good chance I’d be Hindu. Because I’m Hindu, I probably wouldn’t like the Punjabs because they’re Muslim and they want to take Kashmir away from India (which, by the way, is a plumb). I would, however, really like to say the word “Punjab.” Punjab. Try it! Punjab. Punjab. Punjab!
I would really like frozen pizzas and taquitos. And rice. And gellato.
If I were named Ghandi, I would walk softly and carry a big stick. Actually, I’d walk softly and carry a cattle prod. I’d only use it in self defense though. Like, if this Buddhist was all up in my face was like “Hey Gandhi!” I’d be all like “Eat this, Buddhist!” And then I would shock him.
You’d think my best buddy would have a name like Jawaharlal Nehru but you’d be wrong. His name would be Bob. He be an Assyrian Christian and would work in a pickle factory. We would go to the Putt Putt course in Calcutta on double dates with our respective girlfriends. They would both look hot in their saris and I would want to kiss my girlfriend. I wouldn’t though because my dinner would give me bad breath and stupid-head Bob wouldn’t give me an Altoid. I’d want to kill him for that but that would contradict amhisa. Dag nabbit!
Another negative aspect of being named Gandhi is that I’d most likely be bald. I’d probably have really bad sunburn on my noggin. I’d look funny too; it’s really hard to pull off the bald look if you’re not black. Now, if I were a black guy named Gandhi… well, that’s another essay.
Just because I’m named Gandhi (or Gawndee or Gondi), people would assume I’m poor. But no, I’d be rich. Filthy rich. My homespun peasant wrap would be make of the finest silk from Bombay. That’s right baby, it’s all about the Benjamins. I make it rain. I’d have a private menagerie in my back yard. It’d have an elephant, a giraffe and monkeys. I’d be a lot like Michael Jackson only I wouldn’t be a pedophile or a pop star. Or insane.
My toenails would be exceptionally long and lo, the peoples would travel far and wide throughout the subcontinent to catch a glimpse.
Sometimes I’d foolishly get involved in a “dissing match.” I’d hold my own until the other guy said “Oh yeah? Well your momma named you Gandhi!” I’d act like it didn’t bother me and I’d come back with “Well you’re a stinkin’ Punjab!” We’d call it a tie but we’d both really know that he won. Despondent, I would go home and cry into my pillow and make very personal, private entries into my Hello Kitty© Diary:
I feel so worthless. I hate my name. Why did Mom have to name me Gandhi? Dad wanted to name me Harvey. That would’ve been so much better. I hate my mother. Maybe I’ll get to go on Oprah and tell her I hate her to her face. Either way, I think I’m going to develop an eating disorder.
But, in the end, I’d still love my mom. She did, after all, carry me for nine months and give me life. I’d send her a Mother’s Day card:
You’re the best. Say Hi to Dad for me.
Your loving son,
*Yes, I am quite aware that “speculatory” is not a word.