Is it: If I were a rich man, Or if I was a rich man?
Well, as the song goes in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, Teyve, the poor milkman, sings:
“If I were a rich man, Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum. All day long I’d biddy biddy bum. If I were a wealthy man.”
Why were and not was? Because Teyve is so not a rich man. If Teyve might have been a rich guy, and there was a possibility he was scamming us all, he would sing: If I was a rich man.
But, alas, he is not.
If I were the Queen of France (which I am so not), I would have you all eat cake.
If I was to attend tomorrow’s meeting (which I may or may not), I would bring cake.
If I were a mermaid (Oh, I wish!), I’d sit on a rock and eat crab cakes.
If Estelle was at her house all day (probably or possibly), the neighbor would have seen her and brought over a cake. Let’s talk to that neighbor and see if Estelle was home.
Got it? Write on. Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum. I need cake.