Isn’t that the refrain that dampens? Whether for a child or a young adult who still possesses and retains the enthusiasm of the possible, we pour cold water upon such unfettered energy for the future yet undeclared by saying, “Except, in real life…”. Of course, what is inserted to replace the ellipses is the clincher that determines the mood of the response. Is it: “Except, in real life, that never happens.” Or — “Except, in real life, you’ll be broke and devastated.”
Why is it that the unspoken elongation implied by the ellipses must by necessity include a negative ending? When have you ever heard, instead: “Except, in real life, it’s all the better!” Is it because our creative imagination reaches far beyond what is possible in the stark reality of “real life”?
Is the universe imagined of greater potentiality than the reality of daily existence, and is that why the virtual reality of Social Media, “the Web”, interactive video games and the like are so sultry in their seductive pose — because they invite you into a world which promises greater positives than the discouraging reality of our existence in “real” time? Is that what is the ultimate dystopian promise — a caustic alternative to Marx’s opium for the masses: not of religion, but of an alternative good that has been set up that not only promises good beyond the real good, but provides for good without consequences?
The problem is that, whatever alternative good or virtual reality that is purportedly set up to counter the reality of real time, is itself nothing more than “real life”. It is just in our imagination that it exists as an alternative universe. This brings up the issue of language games as espoused by Wittgenstein, as to the “reality” of an “objective world” as opposed to the one expounded by linguistic conveyances: Take the example of the blind man who has never flown a plane. He (or she) can answer every aeronautical questions with as much technical accuracy as an experienced pilot. Query: Between the 2, is there a difference of experiencing “reality”?
For Wittgenstein, the answer is no. Yet, the laughing cynic will ask the ultimate question: Who would you rather have as your pilot for the next flight — the blind man who has never “really flown” a plane, or the experienced pilot?
That becomes the clincher: “Except in real life…”.
For the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the tendency and proclivity towards taking a dim perspective of life can be overwhelming, especially when one is dealing with the debilitating consequences of a medical condition.
Yet, it is important to maintain a balance between the cynic’s world view (that the cup is always half empty) and the eternal optimist’s myopic standard that the glass is always half full. “Except in real life,” doesn’t always favor the former; for the Federal employee who must go up against the behemoth of OPM in filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, “real life” is not necessarily the exception, but can be the rule of a successful outcome if you are guided by an experienced attorney.
Robert R.McGill, Esquire