Medical Retirement from Federal Government Employment: Life’s Joke

The funniest line in literature comes from Carl Sandburg’s “Potato Face Blind Man” stories, where he describes the reason for the wooden mug:  “There is a hole in the bottom of it.  The hole is as big as the bottom.  The nickel goes in and comes out again.  It is for the very poor people who wish to give me a nickel and yet get the nickel back.”

Satire has often been overly-discussed, and attempting to explain why a particular scene, line or story is amusing, is somewhat like trying to explain to a Martian why Bradbury’s chronicles fascinated the young:  it just is, and either you get it, or you don’t.  It is, perhaps, the incongruence between expectation and reality; of a projection of incommensurability that occurs when a portrayal doesn’t quite meet the anticipation of “should”.

In Sandburg’s description, two such anomalies occur:  First, that the figure who holds the mug does so with the expectation that passersby will drop a nickel out of a sense of pity; but second, and poignantly portrayed, that the tables are turned around by the one who allegedly is begging for the nickel, in that he recognizes the empathetic component that there are others who are poorer in the world who also want to give, but needs the nickel more than the beggar to whom it is given.  Thus, the hole on the bottom where the nickel given drops back for the giver, yet the act of giving has been consummated.

Of course, in modernity, perhaps such innocence of satiric portrayal is no longer thought to contain humor; that, as the ethics of inequality and financial disparity have given rise to resentment, and the inane concept of “fairness” today pervades the political spectrum throughout, the focus would be upon the fact of maliciously describing a person with a disability in terms which might betray mocking jest.  But that is clearly not what Sandburg meant by it; and, indeed, it was because he believed that his generation lacked children’s stories which taught lessons of virtue and behavioral uprightness, that he engaged the literary device of satire.

Life itself is difficult enough without undermining the joy of a joke recognized.  A funny line, a witty scene, a belly-laugh from a picture of incongruence; such moments allow for innocence and the lightness of being to prevail as an interlude to an otherwise dreary continuum of surviving in a world which shows but cold shoulders twisted and followed by phony smiles to cut the throats of back-turned bystanders.

Such experiences, of course, are not new to the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers through the meanness of workplace hostility and harassment at the hands of supervisors and coworkers, merely because a medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of his or her positional duties.  Whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, there comes a time when the Federal or Postal worker must decide to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in order to escape the diatribes of the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service.

Carl Sandburg’s joke was of a time when true empathy was understood by all; unfortunately, in modernity, the nickel which was meant to be returned to the giving passerby, would today be snatched up by wolves in waiting, where the lambs who once roamed the hillside of life’s joke no longer gather upon the pastures of a forgotten innocence forever lost.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Superiority in light of misfortune

Why is it that we delight in the misfortune of others?  Is it a perversity of defective character, like a genetic malformation of deviancy magnified by exponential proportions within the essence of man?  Or, is it that, by comparative analysis and contrasting the parallel states of being, we can elevate our own estimation of worth by pointing to the relative denigration of our neighbor?

Certainly, we proffer the words of appropriate opprobrium; “I feel badly for X”; “I get no joy out of hearing that,” and similarly innocuous statements of hypocritical emptiness.  But we liken the principle of action/reaction, downward trend/upward spectrum, and similar opposites to reflect the superiority of our own circumstances.  “Here by the grace of…”  Is that why the “herd mentality” and the predatory instinct of running with a pack of wild dogs from whence it arises?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer the indignation and daily harassment at the hands of agency coworkers, Managers, Supervisors, and those who were once considered “workplace associates”, and further fine-tuned and magnified in the hostile milieu of the Postal Service, the daily encounter with pure meanness and focused unpleasantries is experienced pervasively by the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal and Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Why, when the medical condition itself should empower one with greater empathy, a higher reception of closeness and affinity, does the very opposite phenomena take place?  The superiority of others in light of one’s misfortune speaks ill of the human essence.

That is why, in the end, 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 an important step to take for the Federal or Postal employee, precisely because it allows for a “new beginning“, a “step forward”, and all of the cliched foundations in order to escape the greatest delusional cliche of all:  Superiority in light of another’s misfortune, when in fact nothing has changed, either for the one who feels better, nor for the other who suffers, except that the perversity of man is merely reinforced with a deserved reputation for cruelty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement: Life’s Fathomless Diatribe

We tend to personify and project upon lifeless, inorganic and inert entities, not to mention the extrapolation of generalized and universal conceptual forms, and inject them with personalities, characteristics and living imprints.  Did Plato make this fatal mistake, or was he beyond our intellectual capacity, and perhaps like the mischievous character he provided in his dialogues, was he merely the siamese twin of Socrates and inextricably conjoined in body, mind and philosophical spirit, with that glint of the knowing jokester?

“Life”, as we like to make of the stuff which confounds us, is like the half-crazed homeless person who stands on the street corner and yells at us as we pass by.  Sometimes, we even get hit by a bombardment of spittle, and an unexpected whack on the head, leaving us stunned and helpless, faint with outrage and anxious that Mr. Life may follow us home.  And, indeed, he sometimes does.

Life is like that fathomless diatribe; and we are merely an audience of one, isolated, watchful, spectators who can only observe, sometimes shout back, and in a feeble attempt at altering destiny, weep in a heap of self-pity and trembling repose.  That is how the Federal employee and the U.S. Postal worker feels, in confronting the mammoth of the Federal Bureaucracy and the U.S. Postal Service, especially when the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker are enmeshed in the weakened state of fighting a 3-front battle:  One’s own Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service; a medical condition that has begun to impact the ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional requirements; and the battle against “life” and all of its multitudinous facets of complexities.

Is “life” just another metaphorical voice in the darkness of time?  For the Federal or Postal worker, the time to file 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, must often be determined by the harkening voice of life’s trials and travails.  As OPM is just another behemoth to confront, in addition to one’s own agency or the U.S. Postal Service, so the preparation to “do battle” must include the tools of engagement:  the facts, the law, and the will to proceed.  And like life’s fathomless diatribe, the will to win must first and foremost be the amour of protection in preparing, formulating and filing for OPM Disability Retirement.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Noh & Other Masks

Every culture has some element of representative theatre of art, and Nogaku is the classical Japanese form which tells the narrative of human suffering, trials and challenges encompassing masks, elaborate costumes, and traditional music reflective of the times and periods of tragic and comic proportions throughout history.

Why are masks used?  What is it about the frozen caricature, that moment in time when a look, a grimace, a smile or an unconcealed filament of emotion that encapsulates human suffering, tragedy or a breeze of joy?  Masks frozen reveal but a singular moment — or so one assumes, until you look at it from a different angle, a changed light, or perhaps when one’s own emotions alter and bring to the stage the experiences and baggage accumulated throughout a lifetime.

Masks fascinate — look at the glee, fear and awe on a child’s face, and those memories frozen in time as the child claps, stares, puts the tiny involuntary hand to his or her mouth, as the play before unfolds, whether in life or on the stage.  We all wear masks; some to conceal, others to gloss over.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers suffering from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents one from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal positional duties, the daily mask in order to conceal the progressive deterioration of one’s health, is no different from the theatre of plays performed.

Only, for the Federal and Postal worker who must consider 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, the “play” never ends, as real life is ongoing; and the mask worn changes not in response to the altering angle of light, but rather, because of the unremitting articles of life which slowly chip away at the brave face of time, like the dust of age which fades the painted Noh mask, whether on stage or in the arena of daily living.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire