Is language necessary for laughter to follow? If so, what accounts for the slapstick comedy that erupts with uproarious belly-shaking guffaws that reverberate throughout? What is the fine line between laughter and sorrow — of the man who slips and upends upon a slippery banana left unnoticed on the sidewalk, to realizing that the injuries are serious enough to land him in the emergency room; what divides the chasm between comedy and tragedy? And of the force of laughter — can it be forced and, if so, does the force of laughter have the same effect as laughter naturally erupting?
Say you live in an Orwellian state — a totalitarian regime somewhat like the one prevailing in North Korea — and you stand beside “The Great One” who cracks a joke. You do not find it funny, and nor does anyone else; but you laugh, anyway, because you are expected to laugh on pain of death. Is there a difference between that laughter and the one that you cannot help because the punch-line is so deliciously delivered that self-control cannot be exercised even upon pain of death?
What if a contest were held — of “Who can tell the funniest joke” — and it is between a known comic and again, “The Great One”. You are one of 3 judges on a panel, and you know that if “The Great One” does not win the contest, you will likely be sent to a Gulag on the next train the morning after. First, the known comic does his or her routine for half an hour, and everyone “loses it” and laughs with abandonment. Next, “The Great One” goes through his routine, and everyone laughs just as hard, if not harder.
Can one distinguish between the first half of the contest where everyone has “lost it”, and the second half where the laughter is louder, the rolling on the floor exceeded exaggerated enjoyment, and by all accounts, “The Great One” received the louder laughter?
The force of laughter always possesses that duality of a conundrum: Laughter can be forced, but the force of laughter may not have the same force if force is derived from the forcing of it.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition has in recent times denied one the genuine force of laughter, it may be time to consider preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, submitted ultimately to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
Laughter can be infectious, but when a medical condition deflates and dissipates the quality of one’s life, one’s career, and the incongruence that can come between health and continuation in one’s job, filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application may become a necessity. When the force of laughter is robbed because of a medical condition that has become chronic and intractable, filing a Federal Disability Retirement application through OPM may be the best option left in order to avoid that hollow laughter that comes from laughing at a joke delivered by “The Great One”.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire