The weather comes upon us; as a cloudy day dominates, so a sense of darkness and foreboding can impact one’s emotional life; some days are better than others.
In the virtual world of our antiseptic lives, surrounded by such advancement of technology which separates and bifurcates; we think that we are different from other species, and indeed, a comparative analysis can be a potent and foundational argument in establishing the superiority of the human animal, as in, “Can X do Y?” “Can a chimpanzee sketch a rough draft of an architectural phenomenon like the Roman Colosseum?” (Then again, who among us could do that?). Some would say that the titular character in Camus’ classic novel, The Stranger, Meursault, has it “right” when he attempts to ascribe blame to the heat of the day, the brightness of the sunlight, for his acts if human degeneracy. Such an explanation is as valid as any that one can give for justifying the murder of another.
We tend to desire an intellectualization of our actions which somehow differentiates us from “others”, when in fact the environment impacts us no matter the extent of engagement in placing artificial walls around ourselves.
Medical conditions have a tendency to bring out the humanness in us. This is because, when a medical condition impacts our lives, it is a final recognition that an invasive malignancy has been able to penetrate the artificial walls we have so carefully constructed, and it reminds us of our fragile, organic essence. For Federal and Postal Workers who have been impacted by medical conditions, such that the medical condition impacts one’s ability to continue in one’s chosen vocation, an admission of vulnerability and mortality comes to the fore. To counter this, a change of venue is often needed, and is the required prescription in order to push against the fear and loathing which accompanies such an admission.
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS or CSRS, is often the wisest step which the Federal or Postal employee can do. There are many stories of Federal and Postal Workers who have obtained Federal Disability Retirement benefits, who reflect back and declare that it was the smartest move of their collective lives; but then, when we are stuck in the rut of our antiseptic lives, it is often the most comfortable place to remain, and so we fight against our own self-interest.
And, indeed, in the end, that is all that the prosecutor was seeking for from Meursault — just a word, a deed, a symbol — that he was at least somewhat remorseful. But Camus would have none of that for his character; only the stark and naked honesty, that he was no different from the surroundings of nature which enveloped him on that fateful day.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire