It is a peculiarly human endeavor: of looking at a photograph (yes, digital nowadays, no doubt), and trying to discern from a present who what the one-dimensional picture says about what we were doing some years past, or maybe a few weeks or even yesterday. It is the present “who” of one’s identity, trying to extract meaningfulness from a singular snapshot of an emotional freeze, whether of self-conscious “cheese!” declared knowing that the picture was being taken, or of a cold stare that locks out the soul’s essence of what we actually felt, and trying to extrapolate within a 3-dimensional universe the foundation of what had occurred.
We all play that peculiar game, do we not — of standing in the present by the very being of who we identify as ourselves and looking at a photograph of someone whom we can identify as the “I” in the image before us, and then remembering, with the contextual history hidden within, of the past what that depicts the picture present who stands before staring at the past what; while others may be doing the same thing many times over, multiplied exponentially in volumes unimaginable, yet each instance being insularly singular because there may never be a discussion about the present who of past what that no one talks about?
It is akin to having a medical condition, isn’t it — and of continuing to smile, walk about, carry on “normally” and everyone else in their insular universes not knowing about the medical condition you carry about, and the suffering you must endure because of the present who of who you are but of the past what where others see you and judge you as you were, what you were, who you were, while all the while it is the present who of today that has changed and is no longer the past what of who you were?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job and positional duties, that feeling is often familiar and well known — the present who of past what.
Others see you and expect the same; you may even appear to be unchanged, but inside, you know that the present who is no longer of the past what, and that is precisely what must be conveyed in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether as a Federal or Postal employee you are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; for it is precisely the present who of past what that is the you of today with the historical context of the past what, but nevertheless needing the present who for a future whom no one but you can know or discern.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire