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Day 41: My Dog Named Ego and the 60 Day Review

I have a little dog. Or maybe he’s big. His name is Ego. I don’t quite know what color he is. Sometimes he’s green. Sometimes bright red. Other times he’s that shade of brown and slate most associated with nausea. He has three legs sometimes. Others, he has two. Then four. He shrinks. Sometimes he expands. Boy, does he expand. Think Clifford.

Don’t get me wrong. Most of the time he’s a normal dog. I spoil him rotten. I give him lavish treats. I invent reasons to stroke him. Even when I’m mad at him or he’s naughty, I still feed him way too much for his own good. Other people feed him, too. I try to tell folks that he’s not that kind of dog.

Sometimes I don’t treat him very well. Not that feeding a dog way too much is treating him well. It’s not. I mean, sometimes I don’t treat him well on purpose. It’s hard to find a happy medium.

He followed me to work yesterday. He dug a piece of paper out of the trash and brought it to me. It was greasy and almost see-through from the oil. “60 Day Performance Review,” it said at the top. It was blank. Ego let me take it from him and perked up his ears. I knew what that meant.

Hey Cap’n? Question for you,” I said. Cap’n and I had just finished a conversation about rearranging the dishwashing area. She had occupied herself somewhere between the back of the store and the dispatch computer.

“Sure, what’s up?” she said.

“Are 60 day reviews based off of days worked, or calendar days?”

She walked back to where I was. Ego sat to one side. I could tell he was wagging his tail.

“Oh, those are by calendar days,” she said. “I’m not sure how that will work, though. You know, since everyone goes up to $8 at the start of the year from minimum wage. They might scale it so that tenured folks get a little more, but I haven’t heard back yet.”

Ego was oblivious. He was waiting for that reward.

“Oh, is that what the reviews are for?”

“Usually.”

“Gotcha. Well, I just ask because I’m a sucker for that info. I like to feel really good if I am doing well-“

Ego barked, smiled and spun in a circle, tail wagging.

“-and I like to beat myself up if I’m doing terrible.” I said.

Ego’s ears drooped. He looked at the floor. His rear curled just enough to hide his tail between his legs. He knew I meant business.

“Oh! Well, no, I haven’t put one together for you yet. But you have no reason to beat yourself up.” Cap’n said.

Ego’s ears shot up and he stood.

Cap’n continued. “I am very happy with what you do. You do a good job, and you do everything that you’re ever asked to do. Even the other shift manager, he was telling me, ‘Why does the other manager always get Tony on her shifts?’”

“Aw, thanks, Cap’n! I appreciate it.” I said. Then she was pulled in a different direction.

Here you go, Ego. Here’s a pizza with everything on it.

And boy, did he love it.

He sat on my lap on the way home. I got off early. He walked into No Frills with me to buy a rose. He was happy to behave. Then he followed me around the yard as I hung Christmas lights on our magnolia. I used a broom to lift the strands as high as I could. We got a couple times around. It looks festive.

After that, Ego got a wild hair. He’s been a pest ever since. I don’t know what it is about that dog, but sometimes he just won’t stay satisfied. Sometimes I just have to ignore him and get to work. Other times, he won’t stop nipping at me. Or whining. Do I feed him? Or do I withhold those things that make him grow? Do I stroke him? Or do I withhold affection?

I’ll keep running. I’ll keep working. One foot in front of the other. I think Jesus is a way better companion than that stupid dog. But he’s just so cute!

I’ll figure it out. Until then:

ROE INTENSE

(For cute pictures of a real dog – who is also a pest – check out my daughter’s dog Bob.)

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