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

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: A penchant for excess

Do the historicity and context of a given time determine the individual’s proclivity for behavior otherwise deemed unnatural?  Does that concept even apply anymore, as normative constraints are denigrated, societal conventions become ignored, and new frontiers bypassing the ethos of communities are no more than mere irritants to swat away?

There has always been, of course, a penchant for excess inherent in the human essence; the British Royal Family, the French aristocracy, the Russian Czar and the modern totalitarian state where wealth and abundance allows an opening for the limitless reach of man’s appetite and predilection for excess.

Does the quiet neighbor next door — that meek and unassuming character straight out of the parallel universe of Walter Mitty’s caricature, of the bespectacled individual always referred to as “growing old with grace and a potbelly” — become a tyrant upon winning the lottery?  Is it inevitable that he files for divorce the day after his bank account becomes flush with an astronomical sum, abandons his responsibilities, denies his lineage to aunts and uncles who suddenly want to become the proverbial long-lost cousins who always loved him but were too shy to previously approach — is there an identifiable genetic code of wrap-around dimensions coiling within each of our cells waiting to embrace an inevitable penchant for excess?

And what of our behavior towards our fellow men and women — is human nature so predictable that we fear the unravelling of ourselves, and thus do we cloak our ugliness and conceal our inner motives precisely because, like the largest organ covering our bodies — the skin which provides layers of protection to make our appearance presentable and unblemished — we require constructs of artificial boundaries because we ourselves cannot abide by the liberty we are granted?

These thoughts are nothing new for the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who encounters man’s penchant for excess once the Federal or Postal employee shows the signs of weakness which accompany a medical condition.  Suddenly, the camaraderie and comity previously shown by coworkers becomes an unconcealed bevy of whispering conspiracies, like the silence of horrific quietude of a man drifting in a shark-infested ocean upon an overturned boat, waiting for that first bump of a forewarning to test the reaction before the initial attack.

For that Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition must by necessity lead to 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, the penchant for excess as revealed by actions of the Agency, coworkers and people you once thought highly of, is really nothing more than the unravelling of that which was always there, but forever hidden but for that invisible thread which holds the fabric of society together — of self-restraint, like the distant echo of a forgotten discipline, lost in the meditation of a Zen monastery.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Employee Disability Retirement: The problem of inductive reasoning

The difficulties inherent in deriving universal truths from particular observations have been annotated throughout the history of logical analysis, from Hume to Popper, and continue to haunt attempts at scientific certitude.  That probabilities can be imputed, as opposed to arriving at undeniable conclusions, allows for that “wiggle room” which is the hallmark of modern science.

Today, where the intersection and commingling of science, politics and entertainment requires less than rigorous experimental verification, and where drug companies argue for fast-tracking of medications with limited-to-little trials, even of “controlled” ones — inductive reasoning, though unverifiable and certainly wrought with inherent self-compromise, nevertheless compels people to act.

The classic example of having seen only white swans, leading to the general conclusion that there exist only white swans in the entirety of the universe of such species, is merely a convoluted tautology in a world of untrained and unsophisticated populace.

Rigor in argumentation has been decimated; simple Aristotelian logic is no longer taught (leaving aside Bertrand Russell’s 3-volume compendium of advancement in symbolic logic through his work, Principia Mathematica); and instead, we are left with the inane comments and diatribes on Facebook and other chatter which camouflages for intellectual discussions (where are the Buckleys and the Hitchens of the world when we needed them?  Or is it that aristocratic New England accents and British elocutions merely sound of a higher order?), where cyber-bullying has pushed aside the quite reasonings of timid voices.

Of course, deductive reasoning, as well, can be criticized, and has been by insightful corners of cautionary esotericism; for, the question always begins, From whence did the universal statement in such deductive analysis derive?  Were they not, also, from singular arguments based on the particulars of observations?

But more to the point:  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing one’s Statement of Disability on SF 3112A, it is important to recognized the problem of inductive inference, and not to engage beyond the factual basis of the medical reports relied upon and conclusions derived.

Be careful not to make vast generalizations and presume conclusions not referenced in the medical documentation attached; for, in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, it is always important to stick to the relevant particulars of one’s case, and not get sidetracked into making unverifiable conclusions beyond the confining realms of logical validity.

Otherwise, you might be called upon to defend against Hume’s systematic dismantling of the soundness of inductive reasoning.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

FERS & CSRS Medical Retirement: The insular world of anger

It must be strange to live in a constant cacophony of anger; of a persistent and unrelenting fire pit, where demons jump from ashen glowering of hot red coals to roaring flames of unceasing rage, and back again and yet for more, ever fuming from the slights and hurts both imagined and real, but never able to escape from the corridors of one’s own making.  It is, in the end, an emotion of self-destructive turmoil, perpetrating a defiance of civility in order to engage in the ultimate self-immolation, but without honor or quietude, and thus left with the emptiness of seppuku without meditative resilience.

You see people like this all around; of venom and unpredictable vicissitudes of hate; they spew their wares on the Internet; always the first to comment, the last to leave well enough alone, and forever stalking the weary and witless in a universe of those seeking friendship.  Perhaps it is merely a show of frustration seeping from a life of powerlessness; or madmen crying desperately for help in a world devoid of empathy or compassion.

Whatever the cause, it is always the effect which is felt by all; and never merely a sidebar where forgiveness can be sought or shown, but only the moonlit loneliness of ineffectual calm where the wisp of rising smoke from the dying embers of passion unrequited remains alive, if only to survive another day.  It is seen and witnessed in the workplace, as well.  Is it the Napoleonic complex? Does the show of weakness only provide a further impetus for greater cruelty?  A quiet word of free advice: Unless there is a compelling reason to tell, don’t.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are in the 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, it is often a false sense of loyalty and misguided honor that compels the Federal or Postal employee to “tell all” before the appropriate and necessary moment. But that is where reality often clashes with one’s own conscience; for, always remember that people are more complex than first thought, or more likely, of greater simpleton than mere deception can achieve.

The “crazies” are out there; never underestimate that your own Supervisor, Manager or co-worker is “one of them”, and may be that unidentified stalker who lurks in the shadows of midnight owls who stare with unblinking eyes in the veil of anonymity; for, in the end, the insular world of anger remains like the hidden embers kept warm under the concealment of ashes left unspoiled, waiting to singe the fingers which reach unknowingly to begin anew the raging turmoil of a vengeful heart.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire