We take for granted much, and dismiss with careless appreciation the residue of crumbs begotten. The idiom that refers to the final straw which breaks a camel’s back — why does the foreign species have an impact upon a culture which is unfamiliar with such a beast of burden? Is it that, despite the images produced against the background of pyramids and pharaohs of a bygone civilization, the essence and theme of the proverbial statement resonates, whether replaced by a horse, a donkey or an ox?
The idea that tolerance to, and capacity for, a seemingly limitless weight of workplace bombardment, whether in translated terms of physical endurance or cognitive stress, is encapsulated by that transcendent cultural expression that there is, indeed, an invisible boundary of and for the human experience.
It is complex; the physical deterioration can presumably be witnessed because of the appearance exhibited; but it is the inner psyche and psychological harm, over untold times and lacking of precision of limit, which tests the stress points of fractures barely visible and likely detrimental. Stress fractures may be subtle and sometimes inconsequential; but the incremental aggregation if left unreinforced will refuse to withstand an eternity of disrepair.
The complexity of human experience begins with the narrative carried by childhood memories; advances in fits and starts during the “difficult” period of transition from innocence to adulthood; and becomes cemented within the casement of early independence, where the spectrum and balance between love and hate, idealism and cynicism, and a mixture of hope denied by reality, coalesce to form the compendium of what the essence of a person becomes.
On that journey of filling the narrative, some become tested by greater or lesser traumas; and whether one ascribes “fault” to actions which result in consequences otherwise foreseeable, the reality is that those experiences encountered mold the character of the human narrative exposed.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition may cut short one’s career in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service, it is the complexity of the human experience which preceded that moment of realization that a medical condition may prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties, which will determine the future course of actions and lay the groundwork for a brighter tomorrow.
Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the central point of idioms which transcend time, cultures and limitations of perspectives in modernity, is that we refuse to become relegated to a mere statistical footnote by allowing for that last straw which breaks the camel’s back, and instead insist upon allowing for that beast of burden to survive another day, if only to impart some wisdom to a world which no longer recognizes the complexity of human experience.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire