We all make them, though we deny it. Iconoclasts scorn it; the extremes of either side scoff at it; and, in the end, it reflects the reality of who we are, how we live, and by what vaunted principles we purportedly possess.
On a theoretical level, it is easy to remain the stalwart – that singular entity standing on principle and commitment. The one who has never experienced war – to express beliefs of “courage”, “unwavering loyalty” and blind bravery declared in wrappings of the flag and national identity. Or of fidelity and traditional values despite personal shortcomings of multiple marital infidelities and 3 or 4 marriages, with the devastation of a trail of longing children with a hole in each heart, wishing that principles could be exchanged for a single memory of playing catch on a summer’s day.
If you are sequestered whether by wealth or capacity to ignore, it is easy to shout out principles; but, then, when the test of life intrudes, the failings of reality reconstitute an extraordinary hypothetical into a quivering crumbling of an ordinary person.
Ordinariness is certainly rarely looked upon as the paradigm to follow, and the argument often goes: You never want to dumb down deviancy (Moynihan’s famous phrase extrapolated from a generation or two ago, lost forever by events of social and cultural turmoil hence), and so, even if no one actually lives like the pinnacle of beautiful thoughts and voices stated by writers, essayists and politicians (who themselves bifurcate “personal conduct” from the espoused rhetoric emitted from hollow mouths with a dead-panned look of seriousness), the common masses are admonished by rebukes of being responsible for the “cultural rot” that dissipates throughout.
Reality has a way of compromising the apex of beautiful words, paragraphs, pages and entire narratives of a singular life.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may be preventing the Federal or Postal worker from being able to perform all of the essential elements of the position occupied, the concept of a compromised life is now a reality. For, the sequential perspective of what is expected – of continuing until retirement age a career fulfilled, with regular promotions and deserved merit pay – may need to be ‘adjusted’ in accordance with the reality of life’s impositions.
Having a compromised life and accepting the compromises of life’s misgivings is not a sin, nor a diminution of one’s principled belief-system; instead, in preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is merely a recognition that theoretical foundations were always meant to be modified, and those speechifying vanguards of social commentators never meant the fulfillment of their own words, anyway, and it was always the compromised life that reflected the reality of the boorish insistence that we were angels and gods unknown.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire