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

 

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

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: Superiority in light of misfortune

Why is it that we delight in the misfortune of others?  Is it a perversity of defective character, like a genetic malformation of deviancy magnified by exponential proportions within the essence of man?  Or, is it that, by comparative analysis and contrasting the parallel states of being, we can elevate our own estimation of worth by pointing to the relative denigration of our neighbor?

Certainly, we proffer the words of appropriate opprobrium; “I feel badly for X”; “I get no joy out of hearing that,” and similarly innocuous statements of hypocritical emptiness.  But we liken the principle of action/reaction, downward trend/upward spectrum, and similar opposites to reflect the superiority of our own circumstances.  “Here by the grace of…”  Is that why the “herd mentality” and the predatory instinct of running with a pack of wild dogs from whence it arises?

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer the indignation and daily harassment at the hands of agency coworkers, Managers, Supervisors, and those who were once considered “workplace associates”, and further fine-tuned and magnified in the hostile milieu of the Postal Service, the daily encounter with pure meanness and focused unpleasantries is experienced pervasively by the Federal and Postal employee who suffers from a medical condition, such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal and Postal employee from performing the essential elements of one’s positional duties.

Why, when the medical condition itself should empower one with greater empathy, a higher reception of closeness and affinity, does the very opposite phenomena take place?  The superiority of others in light of one’s misfortune speaks ill of the human essence.

That is why, in the end, 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, is an important step to take for the Federal or Postal employee, precisely because it allows for a “new beginning“, a “step forward”, and all of the cliched foundations in order to escape the greatest delusional cliche of all:  Superiority in light of another’s misfortune, when in fact nothing has changed, either for the one who feels better, nor for the other who suffers, except that the perversity of man is merely reinforced with a deserved reputation for cruelty.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal Disability Retirement: The Hesitant Hole

The famous one, of course, and the one which draws the imagination, is depicted in Lewis Carroll’s tale of Alice and her journey down the rabbit’s abyss; another, the one which determines the relative shortcomings of weather predictability, but that one is guided more by shadows and perceptions from above, as opposed to the one dug below; or, there is the one which we dig for ourselves, and the proverbial timelessness of our foolish deeds.

Of the first, we remember the endless stretch of our imaginations which is expanded by the creativity of the author and the world of fantasy; the second, the reality of the dread we feel for the weather, the cold and the shortened days of winter when we yearn for the coming lull of summer warmth; and of the latter, it reminds us that the consequences of our own misdeeds continue to haunt us despite trepidation and timidity.

Do holes have a character?  Are some holes dug with delight?  Like deep caverns reaching beneath sandcastles on dreamy days of childhood laughter echoing against the wind and waves of salted air; or of the deep crevices and potholes in roads of concrete and steel, when the shifting tectonic forces of nature collide with man’s attempt to construct artificial barriers against timeless changes of fortitude and fear; and the one’s we claw at.

The large ones created by bulldozers and other machines, do they not unravel the once-concealed arrogance of man?  And the careful pawing of the delicate hand in the timeless sand, where castles crumble with trepidations of joy?  But it is the grownup’s attempts at escape, of creating a hiding place where adulthood no longer allows for Alice’s wanderings into a virtual world of imagination and creative loss, and the dread of reality bearing upon the fearful universe we cannot understand, fail to navigate and refuse to negotiate.

The world is indeed a fearful place, and we wish there would always be a rabbit hole to fall into, if only to escape the harshness of our own misgivings.  But beyond that hole into which we inadvertently fall, it is the one’s we dig for ourselves — hesitantly — which create the greatest of calamities.  For, when we do it with trepidation and fear, it is the slow and incremental depth and vastness of it which escapes our immediate attention.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service, it is that hesitation which continues to create the deepened caverns of choices for future security and certainty.

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, is always a difficult decision to make; indeed, filing for OPM medical retirement means that a change is forthcoming, both in career and in finances.  But because the entire administrative process of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through OPM is a long and arduous road to take, it is the hesitant hole which we dig by procrastinating, delaying and obfuscating that often makes for that seemingly endless fall from grace which Alice kept wondering about; but for her, at least she knew that the hole she fell into was the creation of the rabbit she pursued, and not the hesitant hole of one’s own making into which we cannot dig ourselves out from.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement from Federal Employment: Epochal Dawns

There are those momentous events in life which we mark and memorialize; and, in the end, whether the cumulative bag of goodies amounts to a positive aggregate, or a negation of sorrows, we determine in the quietude of private thoughts.  Avoidance of future uncertainty is a talent wrought only by humans; for animals of other species, they cannot afford such luxuries, as survival in the here and now constitutes reality of future causality.

For us, there is today; tomorrow will take care of itself within the constructs of fear, angst and uncertainty; and as Heidegger would have it, the projects we savor are the ones which delay thoughts of tomorrow, death, and the certainty of extinction.

What are those epochal dawns?  For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Workers, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, it can include the advent of a medical condition.  In the beginning, in retrospect, perhaps it was of minor consequence; left as merely an afterthought, a nagging pain, or perhaps a singular moment of sudden urgency.  But the chronicity of life often parallels the longevity of a condition, and what was once a mere quibble may have turned into that momentous event.

Medical conditions belong in the bag of goodies set aside as “negatives”; and it may well lead to the necessity of considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Avoidance of the issue will not switch the bag of goodies from the negative to the positive; but once that decision is made to file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, it is up to each Federal and Postal employee to determine whether the future course of events — that “hereafter” and “post-disability retirement life” — will mean that there is yet a future of positives, and not merely a reverberation of past negatives.

And what of that “epochal dawn”?  It remains so only if the event itself stays in a motionless rut of stagnation, like those old films of a dying carcass stuck in the mud of a scorching desert sky, where the vultures of a future abyss fly above, waiting for their pick of tenderloin.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire