It occupies a dilapidated building on the edge of town. The sign that once overhung the entrance is faded and barely noticeable; but, then, the patrons who enjoy the end-of-workday glass or the occasional wanderer who mistakes the place for the origins of exotic mixtures need not a neon of invitation, but merely a marker that beckons. Laughter is allowed; speaking is optional; rude behavior is not tolerated. Silence is golden. People go to the place of drink and merriment because it lacks the pretentiousness of the world outside; and the large man with a stubble of a week’s shade serves with nary a word, and respects the look of fatigue and demeanor of defeat foreshadowing the heavy sigh accompanying the hunched shoulders of the breathless customer.
The Cynic’s Tavern is the place where old men gather, young men and women cluster, and those somewhere in between loiter. The younger ones have not yet been tainted by life’s travails, and hopeful dreams still clutter the naïve souls of untouched innocence; the one’s who have moved through some years of agony, still retain a glint of smiling faith; but it is the elders of the universe who sit at the bar and despair of lives wasted, wars endured and years forgotten but for the joys of friendship and solitude.
Cynicism is like a virus infecting a town’s essence; it destroys by incremental advances of insidious fatefulness, and never returns the gift of life once gained but lost forever. If it has not yet prevailed, then wait a few years; life itself guarantees it, as fairytales of beauty, essences of love and mythological lands embracing inclusion and empathy, exist only in the minds of children, the duped or the meandering demented of society’s wasteland.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who continue to fight against joining the Cynic’s Tavern, the issue is often one of withstanding and withholding for so long, until succumbing is merely a matter of time. If the daily harassment, deteriorating health and constant detours down the alley of worsening conditions has led to a point where preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application becomes necessary, then it is time to take the next step and formulate the proper and most efficient strategy in order to increase the chances of an approval before the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.
It is one thing to enter through the doors of the Cynic’s Tavern for an occasional drink; it is quite another to find one’s seat there warmed by the constant occupation of one’s unmoved derriere. The best antidote to prevent or curtail cynicism is to keep moving; otherwise, the stale drink and smoke-filled room will ultimately become a part of one’s vacant stare into a future less hopeful.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire