Anton Chekhov is perhaps the singular master of the genre known as the “short story”, and it is owing to his background as a physician that he possessed the insight and sensitivity to be able to capture the plight of the human condition, with all of its suffering, loss of hope, and emotional turmoil, through cruelty, disregard, unforeseen circumstances, and unintended pathways to disaster.
In his short story, “Old Age,” there is the point where one of the two old men shook off a moment of feeling, setting apart and brushing aside a poignant and appropriate time when the shedding of tears would have allowed for the humanity of the old man to show, to reveal itself, and to expiate himself of the pain of the past. Instead, because of pride, or perhaps shame, because he stood before the other old man, he hid the emotion and went about his business. Later, when he comes back to the same spot, the old man tries to recapture the moment, to replicate and reconstruct that lost emotion. It could not be done. It is a lesson for all, that there is an appropriate time, place, and moment for everything.
In preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether under FERS or CSRS, there is the “appropriate time” to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits.
Each Federal or Postal employee knows that time.
Indeed, each “feels” the time, but will often just shake off that nagging sense. One always hears of the hope for a miracle — “perhaps I will get better”; “perhaps it will be better tomorrow”; perhaps… But when the time comes, to procrastinate is merely to compound the problems of the day, only to revisit the same issue later, but encountering an exponentially magnified issue: time is running out; that moment of doing it with optimal circumstances has passed; and now we must deal with the greater problems of the present.
Chekhov is relevant because, while human beings — whether in Russia or here, whether years past or today — change in names and appearances, the essence of humanity remains constant.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire