Propriety is not a concept which is much discussed, anymore. That which is socially or morally “proper” has been discarded, precisely because convention is no longer accepted as a standard to follow. But when the consistent pursuance of the opposite of X becomes the acceptable standard, does it not then become the convention itself?
Further, some levels of propriety follow upon the thoughtful order of things, and are imposed not because they are artificial societal creations mandated through a history of traditions; rather, it is so because of common sense. For example, while having a urinal right beside each table in a restaurant may be the most naturally convenient place for utilitarian purposes, the propriety of such placement defies the convention of modesty and privacy concerns; and so it goes.
Sequential propriety is often the best example of logically-imposed events, and failing to follow the linear approach may have unforeseen consequences erupting with problems down the road. Thus, teaching a child to stop, look, listen — then to cross the road, is both logical, of utility, and linear, with a rational foundation for following upon the sequence of actions.
For Federal and Postal employees contemplating the preparation of a Federal Disability Retirement application, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, the propriety of sequential formulation of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application is important before proceeding. When should the Federal or Postal employee’s Statement of Disability be prepared? When should the Supervisor be approached to complete the Supervisor’s Statement? What should be the sequence and priority of listing of the medical conditions which make up the core of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application? Sequence of propriety is often a combination of naturally-imposed events, as well as logically sound determinations.
Throwing out convention is fine for the unthinking; but there have been many a thoughtless child who, like the symbolism in the well-known story of Holden Caulfield, comes too near the edge of a cliff in a field of rye to deserve comfort of thought and actions.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire