The metaphorical image representing such a phrase allows one to pause and reflect: the dichotomy between the physical world and the conceptual one — of a person “hanging”, as from a cliff, with his fingers turning white from gripping the tenuous life-line of a flimsy branch, a loose boulder or an outstretched hand of another; and of the technical term that possesses meaningful discourse only in a purely theoretical universe of conceptual constructs — denoting the idea of a future event or circumstance that cannot be relied upon with certainty, but may trigger a series of consequential future contingencies or further occurrences, etc.
Thus does the physical and the conceptual come together in an aggregation of a compound conceptual construct that may connote thus: You are in a tenuous situation where your physical well-being is dependent upon a future uncertainty that may result in events that may or may not yet happen.
Such a conditional circumstance is often how the Federal or Postal employee feels, who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may result in the necessity of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset. For, it is indeed the “physical” part of the entire event — the medical condition itself — which makes one feel “as if” one is dangling from the edge of a cliff.
And it is the “contingency” — the uncertain triggering mechanism, such as the anticipated adverse reaction of the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service; the tenuous reliance upon a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment; the growing inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — that makes the medical condition all the more magnified in its exponentially-exacerbated conditions of anticipated calamities.
Life is often an unfortunate series of having to hang on to a contingency, but when a medical condition enters into the fray, it makes it doubly more tenuous, and preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is at least a concrete step that allows one to grip the reality of one’s situation, and perhaps leave all future contingencies, tenuously anticipated, aside.
Robert R.McGill, Esquire