The subtlety of its attractiveness is often overlooked because of its mythology of potent venomousness, where it is said that its sting is more than 15 times the deadliness of a mere prairie rattlesnake, which — at least we can attribute an anthropomorphic characteristic of favorability — warns one with its loud systems resulting from its namesake.
It is often invisible, as its black and unassuming appearance allows for quiet traversing along the undersides of human existence; and the signature red or orange marking, often reflecting an hourglass on the ventral abdomen tells the frightening narrative of the limited time remaining once smitten.
Perhaps, while sitting outside enjoying the warmth of a mid afternoon pause, you reach half-asleep beneath the slats of the lawn chair, and it awaits; or the enthusiastically rapacious urban gardener who wants to feel the richness of the soil in the thawed gallows of springtime brightness, working by reaching with ungloved hands through a thicket of branches and deadwood, unintentionally grabs a bevy of clumpish organic material, and instead disturbs the habitat of this beauty of deadliness.
The mythology surrounding the Black Widow spider increases exponentially with greater study; from its sexual cannibalism to its neurotoxic potency, the innate fear towards spiders in general is magnified when encountering this particular one of is own species. Yet, by metaphor or mere anthropomorphic analogy, we encounter similar and parallel behavior within our own species — of venom so toxic, and of seemingly innocuous engagements that barely warn, but where wariness should prevail over our lack of judgment and insight.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, and where the medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the confrontation with an agency’s Black Widow can be shocking, daunting and ultimately fatal.
And they can — of the human kind — lurk anywhere and everywhere; from sudden eruptions of coworkers and Supervisors whom you thought were harmless, to Human Resource personnel who spew secrets of stinging, venomous sprays which can destroy the privacy and personal information of countless victims; they, like the spider of infamous beauty, can reveal greater enmity than the prairie rattlesnake.
Preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often the only antidote available; but like the signature mark of the hourglass glowing in revelatory horror only after it is too late, filing for Federal & Postal Disability Retirement should be considered way before reaching into territories where unknown responses and reactions may prove too deadly or too costly.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire