It is lived; or so we attempt to do so. This thing called “life”; neither an art form, and forever unaccompanied by instructions or even a cheap compass; most are abandoned at the junkyards of forgotten corners, where the trifecta of raw sewage, mistreatment of body and spirit, and the crass exposure to the detritus of human discontent coalesce to present the irony of birth preceding an inevitable death.
Heidegger taught that we engage in projects in order to avoid the ultimate outcome; for Nietsche, nihilism opened doors for optimism contrary to the preceding generations of convoluted castaways; and while Zen and Hindu mysticism explained away the agony of the body, the remaining torture of living the reality of the now somehow wasn’t enough to extinguish the suffering groans of an impervious universe devoid of feeling, empathy, regard or constancy.
If the implements to create are not provided, and cannot be afforded no matter the toil from birth to death, of what use is the life given if living it cannot be achieved? Moreoever, how can one engage in the writing of a life, let alone the living of it?
Autobiographies are mostly forgotten narratives undertaken merely to dispose of haunting ghosts of passing groans; and biographies, only for those who become a footnote in the dustbin of society. And thus are we forsaken, like the cross abandoned on the hilltop where agony was first embraced in an effort to expiate the sufferings of our forefathers. And then we are asked to write a life — no, not merely to live it, but to engage in art as reflective of ugliness.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are attempting to prepare an SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, the arduous expenditure of describing even a slice of it can mean the difference between securing one’s future or losing a lifetime’s career of investing in the Federal sector or the U.S. Postal Service.
Whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the labor of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity describe the impact of the medical condition, its nexus to the Federal or Postal worker’s inability to perform one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal position, and to “prove” it by a preponderance of the evidence.
Such a daunting task is tantamount to writing a life — perhaps, one could appease, merely a slice of one, a portion of a greater whole, and an abbreviated compendium in an abridged form. Nevertheless, the task involves the aggregation of descriptive narrative, a coherent structure of prose encapsulating facts, evidence and a legal argumentation with a focus towards meeting a statutory criteria for eligibility; indeed, some could argue that the entire project is one demanding something well beyond the mere writing of a life; it is, moreover, to convey and communicate the most private of concerns before a public forum in a maze of bureaucratic complexities amidst an administrative nightmare in a sequence of conundrums.
Yes, living a life is hellish and unaccompanied by direction or explicit purpose; writing a life is even worse — for it entails the remembrance of things past, the present undone, and a future filled with uncertainties but for the successful execution of preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire