How many turns do we make on any given day? Not just actual ones, like those turns while driving a car, but figurative ones, as well. If a person approaches you and asks, “Did you make the right turn?” — what is the response? Is there a “right” answer? Is there a relationship in the English language between the terms “right”, “left” and the physical attributes we possess?
If a person tells of another, “He’s way out in left field,” is that because we attribute the term “left” with residues of the negative? And, how did the terms “left” and “right”, when referred to in politics, come to have a meaning of equivalency? Was the fact that right-hand dominance was historically preferred to left-handedness, to the extent that teachers once used to punish those students who naturally attempted to utilize their left hands in handwriting, drawing, etc., account for the linguistic dominance and preference given to the term “right” as opposed to “left”.
Do we understand the concept with greater presumption when a person says, “He made a left turn and got lost,” even if the person actually made a right turn and found himself in an unfamiliar neighborhood? And what of “meaningful” turns – are there such things, as opposed to spurious and meaningless ones? How often we confuse and conflate language with figurative speech and objective facts; and then we wonder why most people wander through life with confusion, puzzlement and an inability to cope.
Russell and the entire contingent of British linguistic philosophers, of course, attempted to relegate all of the problems of philosophy to a confusion with language – and, of course, only the British, with their history of Shakespeare and the sophistication of language, its proper usage and correctness of applicability could possess the arrogance of making such an argument.
But back to “meaningful turns” – in one sense, in the “real world”, every turn is meaningful to the extent that we turn and proceed towards a destination of intended resolve. But in the figurative sense, it refers to the steps we take in mapping out consequential decisions.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal worker’s position and duties, the “meaningful turn” that one must consider should by necessity ask many questions: How long can I continue in this job? What are the consequences of my staying, both to my health as well as from the Agency’s perspective? How long before my agency realizes that I am not capable of doing all of the essential elements of my job? Will my excessive use of SL, AL or LWOP become a problem with the agency? And what about my health?
These are just a series of beginning questions on the long road towards making one of the meaningful turns that confront the Federal or Postal employee in the quest for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire