It’s all Subjunctive

Oedipoid and vast, the world swam in a subjunctive sea. Every action, a ripple in the pond of potentiality. Was it rain that fell, or merely the memory of rain, a phantom echo from some parallel dimension where skies wept? Perhaps it never rained at all, and the damp chill was a collective delusion, a product of a species forever haunted by the might-have-beens.

We, the stardust-forged marionettes, danced a jerky jig on the stage of existence, strings pulled by unseen hands, or perhaps by the cruel laughter of a god who found amusement in our fumbling attempts at the indicative. Every choice, a forking path leading to a universe unlived. Did the other versions of ourselves, in those unblossomed realities, curse the paths not taken, the loves unrequited, the potential left to rot on the vine?

Or maybe it was all a grand malfunction, a cosmic computer running a faulty program. Perhaps somewhere, a celestial engineer toiled endlessly, desperately trying to patch the code, to nudge reality back into the indicative, the realm of the certain. But for us, adrift in the subjunctive soup, the only certainty was uncertainty itself. We were forever chasing the ghost of a perfect tense, a past that might have been, a future that could yet unravel. It was a maddening waltz, this dance of maybes, a symphony of “ifs” echoing through the caverns of existence.


Oedipoid it might be, this whole “subjunctive” racket. A yearning for a reality that could have been, a universe where verbs shimmered with possibility instead of the blunt, indicative thrust of the everyday. Perhaps, in some parallel dimension, a past tense whispered, “We went to the moon,” while here, on this cracked and anxious Earth, it remained a tense, throbbing “We went to the moon,” forever teetering between triumph and the abyss.

Conspiracy theorists, those fringe dwellers on the map of human discourse, might see a plot, a grand, subjunctive orchestration by unseen forces. The powerful, they’d mutter, rewriting history in the subjunctive, erasing inconvenient truths with a flick of their metaphorical past-tense eraser. Did the Kennedys die, or were they merely erased from a timeline that never quite solidified?

But maybe it’s simpler than that. Maybe the subjunctive is the language of dreams, of half-formed desires and anxieties. It’s the voice whispering in the back of your head, “If only I’d taken that other job,” or the primal fear that curdles your stomach, “They might find out.” It’s the chorus of what-ifs that hums beneath the surface of our lives, a counterpoint to the melody of the real.

So next time you find yourself slipping into the subjunctive, don’t dismiss it as a grammatical quirk. It might be a key, a portal to a hidden dimension, or a map of the labyrinthine desires that make you, you. It’s all subjunctive, man, all subjunctive.


Waldo, bleary-eyed from a night spent navigating the byzantine byways of paranoia, squinted at the blinking neon sign: “Subjunctive’s.” A seedy joint, even by the standards of the Yoyodyne Incorporated sprawl. Inside, a haze of cigarette smoke hung heavy, punctuated by the rhythmic thrum of a malfunctioning slot machine. A barkeep with a face like a topographical map wiped down a chipped glass with a sigh that could curdle milk.

“Subjunctive, huh?” he rasped, voice seasoned with regret. “That’d be the life, wouldn’t it? Where everything’s a possibility, a shimmering mirage in the desert of the indicative. But here, friend, it’s all past participle, the echoes of choices not taken bouncing off the walls.”

Waldo nursed a lukewarm beer, the bitter tang a counterpoint to the metallic tang of existential dread. Maybe it was all subjunctive, a vast conspiracy where the present was merely a suggestion, the future a hall of mirrors reflecting infinite “maybes.” Perhaps the whole damn system, from the Yoyodyne rockets to the flickering neon, ran on the subjunctive’s ethereal fuel.

A woman, all elbows and cigarette burns, sidled up to him. Her eyes, glittering with a manic intensity, held a glint of shared paranoia. “They say,” she whispered, voice raspy as a malfunctioning fax machine, “there’s a machine down in the sub-basement. A contraption that can rewrite the subjunctive, bend it to your will. Make the impossible the indicative.”

Intrigue, a flickering ember in Waldo’s soul, began to blaze. Was it a fool’s errand, a descent into a rabbit hole of conspiracies? Or was it a chance to rewrite the script, to escape the subjunctive prison and forge a new reality, indicative and absolute? With a grimace that could have been a smile, Waldo downed his beer. Maybe it was all subjunctive, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t play the game.