It is the precursor to the punch line, or perhaps the conclusion of a tale told with eyes wide with anticipation; what precedes, what follows, and then…. Stories are told well, middling, or perhaps badly, but they are told nonetheless, with conclusions that come about with surprise, aplomb or perhaps with a suspended yawn stifled for mere courtesy. Everyone has one. It is often said that the story of a man’s life is not in its conclusion, but in the living of it up to the end, but one wonders; is it the telling of it that matters, or the living of it?
In this day and age of technological openness, where everyone’s every detail is disseminated within moments of occurring, no one actually lives anymore, but merely by virtual existence. Life is about what others think, about the opinions of likened friends, and how many “likes” have been amassed over a life-span of one’s presence upon social media. The “telling” of one’s life has always been a part of the human makeup; cave-dwellers from long ago we were, and the drawings that have been left by ancestors long forgotten reveal the propensity and desire to tell tales — tall or otherwise — that also ended with, “And then…”
But this is a new phenomena; of telling the tale whilst living it, and sometimes even before; of setting up the “And then…” before the “then” even occurs, and well before the “And” makes its existence known. It is a switch of a paradigm, a conversion of the psyche and a pre-consciousness before the ego bit off the Id of the seamless ego’s altercation with itself. And then….
We know not what the outcome of such a story is. Untested, unresearched, under constant attack; it remains the single mystery that yet needs to be told. For, everyone has a tale to tell; a life to live; but the telling of the tale of one’s life was once the province of old men in rocking chairs who whispered to wide-eyed boys and girls of the feats of justice and generational transfers of heroic deeds left to folklore, old wive’s tales and exaggerated syllogisms lost in the conundrum of nightmares and sleepless ogres. No more. And then….
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the SF 3112A — Applicant’s Statement of Disability — provides the opportunity to tell the tale of one’s woeful conditions and worrisome progression of deteriorating circumstances. The tale needs to be told; and like all tales, it needs to be presented with coherence and with a logical sequence of validity.
The problem with such telling of the tale of one’s medical condition, however, is the same problem that today’s generation faces: Of living the medical condition and yet telling of it, all in the same breath. Too emotional, too involved or too whatever; in the bureaucracy and administrative complexity of presenting the tale to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the telling of one’s tale should be consolidated into an objective delineation in a clinical and legal admixture of complex simplicity.
For, like jokes and narrations that keep the attention of the reader and audience, there must always be the punchline that persuades and convinces, as in — And then…
Robert R. McGill, Esquire