Will the electronic tablet ever replace paper’s longstanding sovereignty? The invention, dissemination and widespread availability of paper was a notable mark in human progression — if only for what it allowed in establishing communication, transfusion of knowledge and conveyance of data. Like Gutenberg’s movable type printing press, the cotton gin, the Model T Ford and the computer chip of modernity, such inventions became, in retrospect, tumultuous benchmarks of human advancement. If advertising images reflect a hope of an industry, it is clear that paper’s replacement is a target of that sector.
The image to be replaced — of a carefree summer’s day, lost within the creative imaginings enchanted by a book in hand, is replaced in a meditative surrounding of a monastery of quietude, with a solitary figure with tablet in hand. Is this a clash of non-conforming imagery, an oxymoron of the tactile senses — or an acceptable intrusion of an outdated perspective now carefully designed to allow for a transcendence beyond sensory inconsistency?
Is it too “weird” to claim that there is a synergy created by the connective tissues, perhaps invisible, in the sensation of bonds reinvigorated when the human organ — the skin which covers one’s hands and fingers — makes contact with the organic product once living in the forest of endless time before becoming transformed and processed into a breathing product of man-made paper? As opposed to: holding an electronic device encased in plastic — that dreaded construct of human creation that poisons the environment and resists natural disintegration for eons of man’s extinguished presence on civilization’s watch?
It is precisely that pleasantry of a tactile event — that moment unnoticed when lost in an author’s universe, when the hand feels for the edge of the paper, separates the singular from the aggregation of sequential binding, slides down and in a conjunctive movement of coordinated silence, turns the page. And from that, idioms of meaningful adages — another page in history turned, entering a new chapter in one’s life, and closing the book on a forgettable chapter in the experiential history of a person; or even of throwing a book at or “booking” someone. How will that tablet replace such evolutions of linguistic goldmines in the future?
What we unintentionally lose by careless neglect in the rush towards embracing newfangled inventions for monetary gain and lining of pockets in corporate boardrooms, we rarely pause to reflect upon, except in the incremental erasures of history’s richness in human interactions taken for granted but never spoken of. There is, in rushing towards replacement with thoughtless disregard, a propensity to bury that which is seemingly irrelevant but for the empty chair we suddenly miss, but too late in showing our love and care. We can regret things that are gone, but remain impotent to despair and unable to replace, once discarded into the ashes, with but a hope for the rise of Phoenix, if only in the timeless mythologies forever extinguished.
For the present, however, paper remains king; and whether by paper or in forms of electronic transmission, Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who need to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, must formulate a proper strategy and file the proper forms and “paperwork” in order to become eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. Such a submission must be accomplished within a specified statutory constraint, and the rise of electronic methodologies should not detract from the goal identified: preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
For, whether by the tactile pleasantry of paper’s caress, or via an electronic transmission, in this particular mode of presentation and submission, it is always the content which matters, and not the means of conveyance.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire