Despite what they do, some find them to be elegance in flight; and whether the encounter is in the New World or Old, their bald heads mark them out to be the focus of fascination, repulsion and avoidance of shuddering whispers. Scavengers upon carrion of dead carcasses, the full display of their baldness and redness marks them for a discriminated species.
Evolutionary scientists note the advantage of the featherless appearance — of cleanliness in the act of wading deep into the putrid caverns of hollowed bodies and able to shake off the decaying infestation of harmful bacteria; while some in the minority have posited the age-old explanation of colorful display for attraction to the opposite sex and promotion of the genetic dominance of the handsomest. We humans may find them repulsive; within the species, perhaps there is an attraction unknown and undiscoverable, unable to be understood from the perspective of a different viewpoint.
Yet, we humans can understand the plight of the vulture; for we see them all over the place, as existentially pervasive as the world ’round. Like the soaring wingspan in the animal kingdom, vultures watch and wait in the world of men and women.
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, their presence is everywhere, and frighteningly lacking in discreet patience. As empathy is not a character trait of the vulture in the animal kingdom, so it is lacking in the world of men and women. Thus, when a medical condition begins to impact the Federal or Postal employee’s ability and capacity to perform the essential elements of one’s positional duties within the Federal Sector or the U.S. Postal Service, the circling shadows of the ever-present scavengers from high above begin to circle the decaying carcass of the Federal or Postal employee whose progressive medical condition signals the decline and inevitable debilitation leading to absence and exit.
While the final chapter of each story may be different, the intent of the vulture of either species always remains constant — of circling, waiting, and watching with anticipation to swoop down upon the weakened and disadvantaged figure, when such bold presence would never have been displayed at the pinnacle of one’s power.
For the Federal and Postal employee weakened by a medical condition, 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, is the road away from the inevitable circling of the awaiting scavengers. In the end, breeds of a pair tend to stick together, and vultures the world ’round — whether of the bird type or the animal kind — wait for the pickings to ripen in their state of decay.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire