What is a promise? Is it binding, and if so, what makes it binding? Does a written acknowledgment, a memorandum of understand or a memorialization of promises made and assurances conveyed, make a bit of difference? Why are “eternal” promises so much easier to violate – is it because, as finite human beings, “everyone knows” anyway that we never meant to keep such stipulations made before gods, angels and other sanctified entities?
What about empty promises – those that we know are suspect to begin with, but in a drunken state of euphoria, deliver them with purportedly serious aplomb and regurgitate without hesitation before ceremony and sanctimony coalesce to delightful sounds of quietude where the backside covers the crossed fingers in a crucifix of humor and denial? Disdain originates from a plenitude of broken promises; and the incremental unease which develops into the angst of quiet fury, directed with a despair permeated upon decay of conscience.
In a time before, when a person’s word needed not a written memorialization; when a handshake solidified unspoken words with a mere nod; and when language stood stalwart against the disputatious sophistry of linguistic gymnasts; by contrast, today we have a population of experienced betrayals, where everyone mistrusts and no one accepts at face value. Is this merely a reflection of wisdom matured, or of cynicism run amok? What do we teach our children – to trust selectively, to never accept the words as spoken, or to remain as innocent lambs on the road to the slaughterhouse?
We of this generation know of empty promises and broken dreams, and the sad part of it is, such dismay is based in reality. Of Prozac, anxiety and childhood despair, there is no replacement of virtue in doing what “feels good” or changing mates as often as we do our underwear. But, then, we cannot be too judgmental, these days, lest we offend our counterparts and crack the mirror which reflects our own hypocrisy.
And what of Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers? They have also felt the brunt of empty promises. This was supposed to be the dawn of a new age, where workers would be treated with respect and dignity, and when a medical condition or a disability intervened, the Federal agency or U.S. Postal Service would “accommodate” the medical condition. But old habits die hard, and one must always be suspicious that there is a genetic code of ingrained darkness in the core of humanity.
Thus, fortunately, we still have laws which protect against such empty promises – like those pesky laws governing Federal Disability Retirement benefits, protecting Federal and Postal workers from simply terminating a Federal or Postal worker who suddenly cannot perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, because of the onset of a medical condition. Preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is one way of ensuring that empty promises made, and left unfulfilled, may yet be salvaged by filing an effective OPM Disability Retirement application.
Just a thought, though empty it may well be, like promises left in the silence of a singularly occupied room, uttered to no one in particular, and heard by everyone in muted valleys of numbed acquiescence.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire