But for the middle syllable (the extra “ta” in the word), it is what people strive for; and like the thief in the night who leaves behind earthen footprints of his twilight misdeeds, the insertion of that additional combination of a consonant and vowel turns the meaning of the word upon its head, and leaves us with an artificial prose devoid of poetry and warmth.
The middle term is a favorite of sociologists and other “soft” sciences where anthropological studies determined the course of serious studies or of mere pretentiousness of purpose; associations, initiation into phi beta whatever and epsilon in uppercase or lunate form, characterizes the human need to belong, despite our contrary assertions and protestations that man, machine and a wagging dog’s tail are enough in this world of virtual reality where communication is accomplished primarily through pushing a button via glowing faces of blank pages and fluorescent screens.
As for the first in the tripartite series of syllabic partnerships, it is that inner essence which the child in all of us seeks, but which Dickens, Salinger and Capote all cried out for lack thereof, and depleted their souls in the course of searching for that which was never lost, rarely to be found, and tenuously held by a mere thread of hope and longing.
It is funny how much time we waste upon past hurts. Most such narratives deserve, at best, a single night at a bar, a few sobs, and perhaps the generosity of the proprietor giving the gift of a free beer; and then it is time to move on with life. Some stories, of horrors unimaginable but for the telling in quiet whispers in bedrooms locked, but then those who survive such tales are often the very ones with impeccable and impenetrable fortitude, and they don’t need the free drink anyway, leaving aside the heaving sobs and a momentary sympathetic ear.
Narratives are important for people to carry about; like manuscripts hoping to be discovered, we cherish them in binders of protective combativeness.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who have managed to cull together multiple years of survivorship despite the thickets of affectations imparted by so many elements of narcissistic behaviors, it is in the end the true affiliations which come to the fore when a crisis erupts.
If the singular sob-story told at the corner pub was not enough to replace that lack of affirmation wanted and desired for as a child, and throughout your career you have striven to replace it by becoming lost in work, career and sheer busy-ness, then the sudden loss of that coalescence of unending activity can indeed have a traumatic impact.
If a medical condition interrupts that innocent search, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal positional duties, then it becomes necessary to consider 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.
But in doing so, just remember that, while the process of separating away from a career which engulfed so much of your time and energy may be an emotional turmoil of sorts, especially because of the wide affiliations garnered over those many years, it is the medical condition itself which must be first and foremost in contending with the crisis, and not the affectation of coworkers who suddenly show their true selves and gather like a pack of predators ready to pounce, no more than the affirmation you may have wanted from a bureaucracy which, in the end, cares not for your narrative, other than the effective one you must write for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in order to win an approval for your Federal Disability Retirement application.
In the end, all stories are told and forgotten at the corner pub of our hearts, in the fading suds of a beer gone stale, only to be retold by the next patron of the establishment where the jukebox fades with a selection of a song yet to be sung.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire