One could easily spend a lifetime on each, separately; of the first in the trilogy, he mercifully died before the advent of the industrial revolution, whence he may have witnessed even greater upheavals of economic unrest and labor turmoil; of the latter two, they were contemporaries who followed divergent paths — with Salinger left in the hermitage of his insular world of fears, paranoia and distrust of a world which had offered only experiences which validated such churning for a tortured soul, and for Capote, a premature death prompted by a life of public destruction.
Today, we embrace the sophistication of paying strangers to listen to our meanderings of troubled psyches; for the three in question, the times for acceptance of such ways remained unkind and untested.
By standards of modernity, the childhood experiences of Dickens would have caught the attention of social services and the authorities in tow to save the poor boy; but then, we likely would never have had the pleasure of knowing his miscreant characters strewn throughout the ghettos of boundless imagination. Of Salinger, who turned more towards mysticism in order to feed the slow withering of his wanting woes, the need to flee from the cruelty of the world resulted in the greater insularity protected only by the memories of his haunting past. Of the three, it was Capote who openly laughed at the scorn of the world, and like the Clowns and Fools in Shakespearean tragedies, we watched as a major figure committed public seppuku in a slow and agonizing fashion.
They represent, unfortunately, the manner in which most of us live; either of haunted pasts and tortured presents, or of ongoing meanderings in troubled waters. Then, when a medical condition hits the seemingly clean and linear timeline we live and embrace, the disruption becomes magnified with an even greater exponent of sorrow.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer because of 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 positions, the need 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 becomes part of the tragedy of human life.
A life cut short is one which failed to be fulfilled; and, similarly, a career shortened is one which failed to accomplish its stated goals.
But, sometimes, it is of comfort and substantive contribution to see that others — even major figures like like Dickens, Salinger and Capote — had to endure the torture of life’s fated despair. For, in the end, there is little dissimilar in the human essence of all three in relationship to the rest of us; each suffered, lived a life of fated misery, and had to “deal” with the cruelty of the world, thereby validating Hobbes’ description that man’s life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short…”
Robert R. McGill, Esquire