What is it about a certain voice inflection that forewarns us of that conjunction? A long explanation is given; a reason for “why” a person is about to do something is adroitly conveyed; a detailed and rational discourse is provided; and yet something tells us that the inevitable “but” is about to be inserted, making of the independent clause just spoken merely a precursor for the real reason that the lengthy discourse was given in the first place.
It is also a metaphor for life itself, isn’t it? “Things were just great, and it was the happiest of times, but then…”. It is like the metaphorical dark cloud that dampens the spirit, or the sudden gust of wind that topples the tower when one was just about to reach the apex; the “but” in our lives comes at the most inopportune of times.
Then, there is the causal intervention “but” in law, as in, “But for X, Y would have not been liable because X becomes the primary intervening cause that subverted Y and all other causal determinants.” But for this job, my life would be perfect; but for this minor incident in my otherwise stellar career, I would have been unstoppable; but for X, Y and Z, I would have reached olympian heights; and on and on. Isn’t that what Bing Crosby said of Frank Sinatra (for those who are young enough to even remember such icons of yesteryears, that “But for Sinatra, I would have been the most popular singer of my time”)?
Medical conditions tend to insert that conjunctive into a life, don’t they? For Federal and Postal employees who consider the “but” of a life to be that medical condition that has come to a critical juncture — not merely of a grammatical appendage, but of a true intervening cause that disrupts — because it prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her Federal or Postal career, it may be time to begin to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
The “buts” of life are merely conjunctives that forecast the darker clouds that rain upon an otherwise stellar experience; to alter the “but” and instead turn it into a mere “and” is what preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application can do, and thereby avert the “but” word that makes the remainder of the paragraph simply an extension of an otherwise joyful phenomena called “life”.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire