Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Conditon* (for Condition*)

For such a concise little conjunction, if can really pack a punch. It's the title of quite a few songs (by the likes of Perry Como, Joni Mitchell, Bananarama, Pink Floyd, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers), along with a handful of other cultural products (film, comic strip, sci fi mag, video game, couple of TV shows, etc.). Perhaps the most memorable of all of these, though, is the inspiring poem by Rudyard Kipling, which begins: "If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you / If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you / But make allowance for their doubting too / If you can wait and not be tired by waiting / Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies / Or being hated, don’t give way to hating / And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise..." It may also be the longest teaser in existence to a conditional sentence beginning with "If...". After four eight-line stanzas, the poet finally produces the payoff: "You'll be a Man, my son." We've blogged about Rudyard Kipling before, but given as today is the great man's birthday (born in Bombay in 1865), I say, "What the hell? One more time!" There were 54 cases of today's typo found in OhioLINK today, and 1,414 in WorldCat.

(Father and son, John Lockwood Kipling and young Rudyard, circa 1890, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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