I try not to be that guy. But I probably am. You know, the one who corrects some miniscule point of grammar while you're having a satisfying rant on Twitter. You care about the plight of Australian Water Buffalo, not that some jerk noticed that your much needed semicolon was in absentia. But I care. I care a lot. I love the intricacies of the English language; the way words play together like siblings: sometimes a united front for clarity, sometimes at war, with sounds that rumble and clash against each other. I love words that imply other words. Subtle double entendre makes my day. When I named this blog "Subjunctive Mood", I knew I might leave a few of you out of the joke, so let me now invite you in.
The subjunctive mood is something we have in English, but tend to avoid, with awkward structure, until we are required to learn it through the study of foreign languages. I recognize that English is a foreign language to most of the world. I also realize that if it is foreign to you, you may be alone among your friends in using the subjunctive mood properly. The short explanation is that it is used in case of expressing things that may not be the case. For example: "If I were you, I would reconsider playing chess with that lion. He looks sketchy." In the indicative mood, "I" and "were" don't go together. Most people will never say, "I were eating Australian Water Buffalo testicles when the meteor hit." So there's your grammar lesson for the day.
But the real reason I used it is that I like the sound of it rattling against what it is. "Subjunctive" sounds like "subversive", "subluxation", and "submit". These are words for something below or outside where it seems they should be. A disturbance in the usual order of things. When it comes to words, I like disturbance. The job of all art is to reach past the parts of our brains that understand subjunctive mood into the gooey subversive center and scoop out a chunk we didn't see before -- and make us look at it. And mood? We tend to scoff at moodiness as a weakness, and so it sometimes is. But we are social creatures, altered by the capricious responses of other, equally moody creatures, so that they'll share their mammoth if you happen to run out. So embrace your subversive, submarine, subjunctive mood if you like. And I'll try not to correct your grammar on Twitter. Probably.