As a verb, it allows for sharing in information secretive within confidences kept closely held; as a noun, an antonym of sorts — of a most public facility where privacy is needed, but which everyone uses for the most common of needs — of a place where we relieve ourselves and perform bodily functions that redden our cheeks with shame when spoken about.
Are we privy to the intimate thoughts of friends and loved ones? Do we ask where the privy is when in London, Tokyo or Idaho? Of the last of the tripartite places so identified, the response might be: “What’s that, hon?” Of the middle, it could likely be: “Nan desu-ka?” Of the first, with a neat British accent or the melody of a cockney dialect: “My good chap, just around the corner over there!”
Confidential information or the toilet; how many words in the English language allows for such duality of meanings depending upon where the word is inserted into a sentence?
That is how Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition often feel about their situation when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job: For years, like the noun because he or she was a “valuable asset” to the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, where all confidential details were passes by you and you were always “in the loop” of everything important going on within the agency; then, when the medical condition hit and you began to take some Sick Leave and perhaps even a spate of LWOP, you were relegated to being a “noun” — no longer privy to the inner workings of the Agency or the Postal Service, but merely a privy on the outskirts of town.
When that happens — when you are no longer a verb, but an outcast noun — then you know that it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, so that your place in the sentence of life will once again become an active verb, and not merely an outcast noun to be abandoned and forgotten in the grammar of vital living.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire