In architecture, they serve a pragmatic purpose of duality: they divert unwanted seepage of water by redirecting it away from the side of a structure, but moreover, they serve the equally important spiritual task of keeping evil spirits at bay.
In everyday life, the concept can take on multiple meanings; of a grotesque figure unattractive on the outside, but encompassing an unseen beauty within through his or her thoughts, concerns and conceptual constructs; or of the monster which stays hidden within a tortured soul, where the fantasy of our own imaginations loom larger than the realities we may face; or, further, denoting phantasm from Medieval days where knights and dragons slayed have returned in more subtle forms of windmills left churning in the fields of fear of our own making.
All of them are barely noticed, now; onlookers pass by the structures which jut with such figures of antiquity; of monsters and grotesque figurines, we barely notice in this technological universe of pragmatism where fantasies of spiritual fears are dismissed as mere shams abbreviated from the shamans of yore; and of those looming monsters which haunt us in the nightmares of sleepless hours?
Pharmacology and the innane science of hope have become the masters of our fate, as Darwinian determinism has replaced the Oracles of ponderous paths. There are no more mindful gargoyles; only materialism and the tactile reality of a virtual universe we have created in repose of empty caverns, where vacuity of thought is mistaken for profound moments of cognitive clarity, when in truth it is the dissonance of our own creation which leaves us trembling in the corners of our own fears, paralyzed with haunting thoughts and haunted imaginings.
But that we could return to the days of Tom and Huck, and win the heart of Becky Thatcher in braided pigtails of forgotten innocence; but, then, we would have to give up all of those “advances” we are lectured about by insistent voices booming in megaphones of self-interested diatribes.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, of course, the mindful gargoyle is of utmost importance. For, it is that symbol and pablum of life that interjects and disrupts; the fears which prevent us from progress are precisely those which loom larger in the creativity of our own minds, where such phantoms preventing steps taken to move forward are the ones which need to be slain in mind first, then in the world outside.
That is why, often, the first step in the long bureaucratic process of preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is to speak with an Attorney, in order to “objectively” assess one’s chances and develop pragmatic steps towards a potentially successful outcome.
For, in the end, preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits should reflect a pragmatic purpose — somewhat like the architectural utility of the gargoyles seen on structures of Medieval contortions, and not left in the dusty attics of fearful minds and monsters unslain in the deep recesses of cringing thoughts.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire