Animals steer clear of it; the growing stench is a warning, a harbinger for the wary; it is only an attraction to vultures and other scavenging birds of prey; civilized societies deal with it by slapping an FDA food label on items, long before the bacteria of decomposition begins to cannibalize and self-immolate.
The reality of the olfactory response is to curl up one’s nostrils; the metaphor encapsulates the recognition of weakness and vulnerability, and the herd mentality of attacking the weakest in the evolutionary race of disseminating one’s greater gene pool by diminishing the population of the weak, thus providing a justifying basis for extermination and dominance.
In the microcosmic context of a Federal workplace, the scent of decay compels a reconstituting of loyalties and forgetfulness of past accomplishment; what you did yesterday, matters little; what you have the potential to do, matters most; what you can no longer do, destroys all mattering.
For U.S. Government employees and Postal workers, the time for change comes not necessarily with the seasons of nature, but when a medical condition begins to impact one’s ability and capacity to perform all of the essential elements of one’s positional duties. Medical conditions represent vulnerability; and whether the Federal or Postal employee has the best of relationships with one’s supervisor, coworkers or the agency and department as a whole, the scent of decay immediately follows upon a diminution of productivity and potentiality.
The evolutionary human instinct to follow the dominant and ignore the vulnerable is one which defies replacement by artifice and societal niceties; suddenly, the star employee has found disfavor, and it matters not whether the fault can be attributed to laziness, incompetence — or a medical condition which cannot be controlled or helped.
OPM Federal Disability Retirement is an employment benefit which accompanies all Federal and Postal employees who are under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset; it allows for Federal and Postal employees who can no longer perform one or more of the essential elements of one’s job, because of a medical condition, to obtain an annuity in order to move forward in one’s life. Once obtained, there is a possibility for a second vocation, and to earn up to 80% of what one’s (now former) Federal or Postal position currently pays, on top of the Federal Disability annuity itself.
As man lives no more in the wilds of pure survivability, where beast and burdens of hunger have been replaced by white collars and polite salutations of meaningless vacuity; so the appearance of empathy and magnanimity of intent may mask, for a time, the scent of decay; until the pounding hoof prints fade in the settling dust of that herd which sensed the vulnerability, where the howling pack of wolves and wild beasts come gathering in the twilight of snarling tensions; and standing still in a forest of wild beasts will not save the doe from the savagery of civilized society; for, while headlight hunting may be outlawed, it is the frozen deer in the headlights which waits upon a desolate tundra while the scavengers await the reaching arms of the scent of decay.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire