It is a peculiar word; for, it can mean both the final, end and trailing subject remaining in the far recesses of a sequence, likely to be forgotten and – except for the Biblical reference where such an entity can be accelerated to the front of the proverbial line – surely to be abandoned; yet, it also connotes endurance, the capacity to outfox others in similar circumstances, and the symbolic appearance of vitality and energy. “Oh, that’s the last thing in the world you want to buy”, goes the dismissive utterance in considering that which is not of significance or relevance as a priority to be considered. And: “That’s one of a kind – it will last forever,” comes the accolade showered upon a product of excellence.
How can a single word comprised of four letters – the required singular vowel and the remainder of consonants surrounding like a moat protecting the castle encasing and elevating the royalty of linguistic peculiarities – possess such a diversity of meanings, like antonyms inherent in a conglomerate of a sole voice conflicted and yet without self-contradiction? Is it like the grammatical equivalent of a tortoise in that famed fable who is considered always to be last, yet endures the scorn and scoffing of an audience that has no clue about that which will last beyond the ordinary circumstances of normative equivalency?
Yet, despite its innate complexity of meanings, ordinary people every day use it with aplomb, confidence and without any internal sense of being confounded by the challenges posed. You don’t have to earn a higher-level degree or spend years of hermeneutical turmoil in order to offhandedly fling about in the daily language games engaged. “I hope the good weather lasts”; “We’re the last ones in line”; “It is bad manners to take the last one”; “The parties hope for a lasting peace”.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal employees who need to file a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the process of enduring a Federal Disability Retirement procedure will have a lasting impact upon the Federal and Postal employee, and this is especially true whether the Federal or Postal employee is the last person standing, in a proverbial sense, and often that is how the Federal and Postal employee feels – as if he or she is the last person in the Federal Agency or Postal facility to be considered for anything, because he or she is targeted as that last bastion of a thorn in the metaphorical backside of a lasting fight against the last thing the Federal Agency or Postal facility wants to deal with – the last man standing who will last through the harassment, intimidation and adversarial process of a lasting Federal Disability Retirement application.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire