Federal Disability Retirement: The language divide

Why is it that language is often so far removed from the living of life?  Was Wittgenstein correct – that it is a distinct world, separate and apart, that really has nothing to do with the “reality” of an “objective” universe?  Was Russell’s cutting quips about the bald King of France a way to point out that the primitive outlook of the traditional correspondence theory of language – that words, concepts, etc. are meant to parallel the objective world “out there” – doesn’t quite fit the proverbial bill, and that we are left with a linguistic universe insularly created and forever divided from the noumenal world that Kant had identified?

Take the following short puzzle that was recently heard: “There are eleven birds sitting on the telephone wire.  A young boy takes a gun and shoots one, and kills it. How many are left on the telephone wire?” Now, the answer to that minor conundrum should be quite elementary, but depends upon how we approach it.

From a mathematical viewpoint, one simply takes the numbers – a purely “theoretical” approach, divorced from the reality of the objective world in which we live, and subtract the 1 dead bird shot by the young lad, from the original number of birds identified on the telephone wire, and come up with the correct answer: 10 are left, because 1 was shot and killed, and therefore the mathematical equation: 11 – 1 = 10.  But it turns out that the correct answer is: “None”.  Why?  Because once the boy fired the gun and killed the 1, all of the others flew away.  Now, one can scratch one’s head and say with self-effacement, “Of course!  That only makes sense!”  Or, one can pause and say, “Now, why wasn’t that as obvious as the answer now seems, after it is pointed out to me?”

Now, contrast that with “real life”:  A hunter goes with his loyal dog and flushes out 3 pheasants from the forest; he takes aim and kills 2; 1 gets away.  He is later asked, “How many did you get?”  He answers, “Two.”  He is asked:  “Any left behind?”  The hunter looks at the questioner quizzically, with some puzzlement.  Why?  Because the question doesn’t quite make any sense – why would you ask such a question?

The fact is that there is a language divide – in real life, asking “how many are left” is not a relevant question, because the reality of living one’s life has already revealed the reality of the living.  It is only when we turn reality into an insularity ensconced within a theoretical construct does it become a thinking universe divorced from the objective world around us.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the issue of the language divide is a reality that the Federal or Postal worker must live with each and every day of your life.  That is because you live with a medical condition – the deteriorating effects, the daily symptoms, the chronic pain, numbness, gait imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, cognitive dysfunctions, etc.  The “world of language” doesn’t quite “understand” the reality of the medical condition, and is often inadequate to describe or decipher the sensations experienced.

That being said, in order to formulate an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, the language divide must nevertheless be bridged; for, an effective Federal Disability Retirement application must by necessity enter the world of language – of the Applicant’s Statement of Disability (SF 3112A), the medical reports, and legal argumentation with persuasive force; and it is the language divide itself which must become the vehicle for an approval from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, so that when the single bird is shot, there aren’t any left to speak about on the telephone wire that connects language to the reality of one’s life.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: That wretched attachment to life

The theoretical construct proposed by Darwin has proven itself many times over, according to evolutionists, since his initial dawn of delineating the “origins” of our existence; the urge towards existence, of remaining, of “being” as an instinctive component that cannot be denied, has become merely an accepted and acceptable normative paradigm of modernity.

In many ways, the inherent attachment to life itself is the basis of a wretchedness that leads to self-destructive behavior; many of us hate ourselves and do things that hurt and harm – a mode of self-immolation and Western-style seppuku that results in self-medicating devices encapsulating the spectrum from overeating, alcoholism, multiple partners and spreading of diseases untold; or, on the other end of the extreme, of become vegetarian, vegan, health-fitness-exercise-cosmetic-surgery and everything else to stay young and vibrant.

That wretched attachment to life cannot be avoided; it is who we are and the essence of our very being.  Is there such a thing as an “unhealthy” attachment to life?  It is all well and good for Camus to write about the Myth of Sisyphus and the need to turn away from self-annihilation before being able to live an “authentic” life; he was handsome, a pretty good writer, and French (or, actually, Algerian) to boot, and his only competition was a near-blind ally who was close to incoherent in philosophical discourse (i.e., referring to Sartre, of course).

But back to the idea at hand – of that wretched attachment to life.  We see it in old people attached to mechanical apparatus to prolong it; of humanism and even religiosity that remains suspicious as to whether there is truly anything else in the great “beyond” after death; and so we cling to life at all costs.  What would be the alternative?  To live a quality-filled, balanced existence? We sometimes forget why we became what we are today, and become steeped too deeply in the troubles of everyday existence.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition becomes the focal point of existence itself, there is a double whammy: Of the chronic and often debilitating medical condition itself, as well as worrying about and contending against the daily harassment and adversarial threats initiated by the Federal agency or the Postal facility, and it often becomes so burdensome that one wonders as to that wretched attachment to life.

But always go back to basics, to the foundation of Darwinian essence: Life is, indeed precious, and sometimes it takes a different sort of step in order to regain the balance in life that is needed.  Filing for Federal Disability Retirement is merely that step in order to reorient one’s self for a future course of life.  It is a means to an end, where a Federal Disability Retirement allows for the Federal or Postal employee to separate and retire with an annuity, then to consider one’s future after attending first to the medical conditions one is suffering from.

In that sense, that wretched attachment to life is more akin to the Hindu concept of reincarnation, where obtaining a Federal Disability Retirement through OPM is like returning to this life in a different form, and becoming resurrected from the ashes of the metaphorical Phoenix to live another day.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire


Federal Disability Retirement: The Other Side of Work

The entanglement of work with value and worth is an inescapable aggregate of custom, upbringing, time spent, and the egoism of leaving some indelible mark upon an otherwise implacable universe.  Where work resulted in income, and income the cumulative wealth of a lifetime, the driving force behind it never mandated the fury of necessity.  Of course work has always been tied to livelihood; that is a given.  But when the doors for credit, mortgages exponentially exceeding an imbalance beyond capacity to repay, and the idea became accepted that luxury need not be left for tomorrow, the slavery of bonding work to worth became an unworthy concept.

Then, when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability to perform all of the essential elements of one’s job, the fear and trembling for future needs begins to encroach.  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who find that a medical condition is having an effect upon one’s performance of work, the reality of potential alternatives must be faced, and quite quickly, lest the other side of work, like this side of paradise, leaves one with neither work nor income, but a bleak future without either.

Filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits, whether the Federal or Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, will take time to develop, submit, and wait upon in order to receive a decision from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.  It is a complex bureaucratic process with multiple administrative facets.  The reality of needing to file, however, should never be confused with the bundled confusion one has concerning worth, work, and the value of one’s contribution to society.  It is the medical condition itself, and attending to the symptoms and effects of that which one never expected, asked for, nor desired, that must be focused upon .

Some things in life are, indeed, worth of greater value than work, and the value placed upon the other side of work will determine the course of one’s future, whether of joy and love, or of further puzzlement beyond the imprint of time spent without one’s family.


Robert R. McGill, Esquire