The forty-five list: subjunctives and the call of the frogman

41. The barest shelf in the cupboard of English language is the dusty one reserved for subjunctives. As a result our imaginations have gone hungry. The subjunctive mood, used to express attitudes and counterfactuals, has almost disappeared entirely from English, hanging on only in such phrases as "If I were a frogman" or "Had I gone to frogman college and become a frogman, I should be happy now" or "I demand that he give me the frogman costume and afford me due satisfaction on all frogman counts". With the subjunctive we witness language's finest hour, an inbuilt resource to the construction and habitation of imaginary worlds, opportunities to plot alternatives and live, if only in the mind, as frogmen.

42. Possible frogman examples to which we can all aspire: swimming - publishing - dissenting - just being

43. But by the Jesus don't you run afoul of this seedy bunch if you choose to be the frogman of your subjunctive dreams. I mean, check out the pose of the large frog. And then roll your mouse over it a few times. That's what they're about, oh yes.

44. Enough of the subjunctive. It has led me down a path strewn with the bodies of possible frogmen (maybe this is what the guy who made up English worried about when he was putting in the subjunctive mood, which would explain its paucity).

45. Really, that's enough.