It is the center of the universe; upon and around it, all things revolve. The axle is attached to it; the spokes; the planets that circle about; the hub constitutes, represents and relates to all else by being the primary foundation from which all else is dependent and subservient. And thus the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?” Or, is the idiom, “That’s the nub of it all” the true way of saying it? If a person replaces the “h” for the “n”, and let’s say he or she has a strange inflection or accent, anyway, do we stop them and correct them?
Say two people are watching a show, and afterwards a discussion ensues as to the meaning of what one of the characters said or failed to say, and one says to the other, “That’s the hub of it all, isn’t it?” The other turns and says, “You mean, that’s the NUB of it all, don’t you?” The other pauses, reflects and retorts, “What’s the difference?” Now it is the first one’s turn to pause, reflect and answer back, but what would be an appropriate answer? While the true idiom or adage may well be the “nub” usage as opposed to the “hub” application, perhaps the other person was just being somewhat eccentric and creative.
Or, let’s say that you knew of the other person the following: When he was just a young boy, he lost his mother, whom he loved very much. Her last words to him as she lay in bed suffering from tuberculosis was: “Now, remember Bobby, it is love — that is the … [and, here, she was overcome with a fit of uncontrollable coughing, and could not get the “n” out and instead, pulled herself together and said hoarsely] the hub of it all.” And to this day, Bobby remembers his mother’s last words, and the slight difference of idiom used, and likes forever after to repeat the phrase, “That’s the hub of it all”.
Would you, knowing this, correct him on the misuse of the idiom? And even if you didn’t know the history of such misusage, why correct something when the underlying meaning remains the same? Isn’t “hub” a synonym for “nub”, and vice versa?
In life, we too often focus upon the spokes of the wheel, and not the hub; or, put another way, we walk right past the nub of a matter and become too easily distracted by tangential, irrelevant or insignificant obfuscations. But life is too short to aim at the spokes of the matter instead of the hub, nub or essence of it all.
For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal job, just remember that there are certain things in life that cannot be ignored — like one’s health.
If one’s health is deteriorating and the Federal or Postal job is contributing to that deterioration, what is more important? What is the hub of the matter? What essence of life’s priorities are more important? Identify the nub — and proceed on to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that you can focus upon the hub or nub of the matter, which and whatever, so long as it points to the essence and not the spoke.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire