As a metaphor, it refers to the mind, whether because of similar spatial location or by analogy of clutter and vacuity (concepts which are not mutually exclusive, for the former does not imply knowledge, whereas the latter is a negation of it). The common adage, “Out of sight, out of mind”, applies aptly, as it is the last refuge before it becomes refuse, but somehow is kept because a pause, an indentation, a comma extended the effort of a terminal decision.
Perhaps sentimentality pulled the strings of childhood memories, where the deep recesses of warmth and traipsing through cold streams on summer days and laughter in rolling through careless days of yore attached itself to an item too old to value but not useless enough to discard.
Memories have value, too, you know; they just don’t trumpet the monetary gains in a world devoid of feelings beyond the pocketbook. The childhood delight of walking up into granddad’s attic, where treasures untold would unfold to the limitless imaginations of a time when entertainment knew not the computer screen nor the smartphone, but carved simplicity of flutes, toy soldiers and great battles where valor and victory filled the silent air.
Houses no longer have stairs to reach the heights of that place of refuge, where sadness would find solace in the quietude amongst dusty suitcases and wedding dresses out-of-fashion but for the beaming bride in photographs fading in crinkled corners of brown discoloration. Now, we merely have a square entrance cut into the ceiling of the top floor.
Somehow, when stairways were erased from the architect’s mind, the disappearance of the physical means to reach that remaining refuge where loneliness entered and the quiet pitter-patter of mice and old men wandered, the timeless period of pause, peace and calm of perpetuity ceased to exist. The pencil which erases is more than a negation of thought; it is the end of an era which valued time, relationships and the conversation muted beyond the crackling of a winter’s fire. The attic where useless things are kept; is that why we treat each other so abominably?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition no longer allows for the great extent of productivity previously enjoyed — suddenly, the Federal agency and the Postal Service treats you like the refuse thrown into the attic, but with no stairway to come back down. No accommodations are found; you are treated like the pause before the trash bin and the comma before the flush of the toilet.
That is why the option exists for the Federal or U.S. Postal employee to prepare, formulate and file for an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
For, in the end, while the attic is indeed the place where useless things are often kept, it is up to the Federal or Postal employee to begin constructing the staircase which was erased by the thoughtless architect who knew not the future plans for a greater tomorrow; and that is precisely why, for all of those bygone years, you kept that old wooden toboggan — to slide down that next hill where childhood memories still enliven.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire