The signature is the great identifier of a person. It is, in some countries and cultures more than others, and even here in the United States, a feature that distinguishes, a type of rite of passage into adulthood, and in many ways a revealing characteristic.
It allows for the voluntary identification of a feature emanating from one’s own free will; an act which seals a compact; a stamp that distinguishes the person who completes the signature, from that of another; and declares to the world that this act, the signature stamp, with all of its unique swirls, crosses, dots and turnabouts, like some spinning basketball move that tells everyone else that you have arrived, is different, distinctive and peculiar to only the very individual who has picked up the pen at that moment in time and inked the singular characteristic upon a piece of paper.
Consistency in the written signature is important in establishing the uniqueness and distinctive feature; that, in and of itself, is a kind of oxymoron, is it not, when one pauses to reflect upon it? For, to be “unique” and “singular” is to be a “one-time” event and a distinguishing peculiarity that cannot be reenacted or copied beyond the soliloquy of the act itself; and yet, for a signature to be effective, one must be able to repeat the same curves, the mimic again and again of the lines, crosses, dots, etc. of the signature hundreds of times over and thousands over a lifetime of signing one’s signature.
And then, once one has mastered the ability to sign one’s name in a unique, singular form, and be able to repeat it over and over again – have you ever notice how difficult it is to complete the interrupted signature? It is as if the body itself is separated from the mind, and it is the hand and fingers that hold the pen that “remembers”, and not the eyes that guide or the brain that follows. When once the flow of the signature has been interrupted, the uniqueness remember is suddenly forgotten.
It is likened to a Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job. The medical condition intervenes and begins to interrupt, “preventing” one from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position that the person has been so uniquely qualified to do for so many years.
That is the insidiousness of a medical condition. Such an interruption, however, is much more serious – for it doesn’t merely interrupt or impede the completion of a signature, but of a career, of goals, of family financial support, and every other aspect of a person’s life.
Preparing, formulating and filing a Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an important next step in taking up the proverbial pen and completing one’s signature. And like the signature itself, the Federal or Postal employee need not fret about the uniqueness lost; you are still the same person, singular in every respect, whether your health has forced you to move on in life, no less than the signature that distinguishes you from all others.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire