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The Razor's Edge
by p.l. frank

Real Dogs

I realize most people want—no, need—to believe they are at the top of the food chain. Humans have the ability to logic, they argue, putting them head and shoulders above all other species. To this I say, "then you’ve never owned a dog". And, if you have, then you weren’t paying attention. To the careful observer we humans are no more than dogs with spray gel.

You’ve no doubt heard people who are despicable manipulators and liars referred to as "dogs", as in, "Oh, that guy is a real dog". Dogs as it turns out, lie and bluff a lot. Just like people. Take this example:

The Lie and the Bluff: Nothing makes my dog happier than to be outdoors. She lives indoors but she yearns (hourly) to be outside. From the time she was a puppy she learned to lie in order to get what she wanted. It all started when she learned that scratching at the door for instance, would afford her a trip outside. And so she scratched. A lot. I often work from my home office so I’m around most of the day. Before long I was out more than I was in with her.

Eventually rules had to be set. If she went to the bathroom she could stay out at length and play. If she did not go to the bathroom within fifteen minutes she was scolded for bluffing and promptly brought back inside. But dogs, just like people, are clever. If they get caught lying they just find another way to get what they want. In my dog’s case it was "show pee". Before long my dog learned to time it right in order to squeeze just enough pee out each trip to prevent being scolded and taken back inside. You could tell the difference between "show pee" and the real thing. But it did not matter. Either way, she got what she wanted.

Now for those of you who think, "So what? That doesn’t have anything to do with human behavior", let me assure you this: there are plenty of people each and every day who engage in "show pee". Here are just a few examples:

· The "I’m so busy" routine.

Busy, in this day and age is equated with "popular" and "important". Got too much free time on your hands? The message is clear: you’re either not needed, unwanted or disliked. People will go to almost any length, therefore, to assure themselves and others that they are really busy. In fact, returning someone’s phone call or email these days is a rarity. Return them within 24 hours and you may well risk being labeled a "loser".

The solution sought by many scoring high in the hip-department is as follows: (1) Delete all emails as soon as they are read so as to prevent any temptation to hit the "reply" button and acknowledge you may actually have some spare time. (2) Wait until 10:00PM to return all business calls and 10:00AM to return all personal ones. With this strategy you are sure to only reach voice-mails and answering machines, once again supporting the illusion that you are, in fact, too busy. (3) When returning messages that cannot be ignored always wait a minimum of 72 hours and start each message with the words, "I’m sorry I couldn’t get back to you sooner."

These tactics are "show pee" in it’s finest form. A little trickle can go a long way to bolster your image, and as long as no one sees you lifting your leg, you’ll never get caught.

· The "I’m too sick to come in to work/class/some event" telephone call.

Some people get so good at this they give it a dry-run before the actual performance. Usually it’s better if the illness focuses on a cold. Stuffy nasal passages and scratchy sore throat sounds are easy to play up. A close second is the "I’m very sick at my stomach" routine. Some people have even been known to stick their finger in the back of their throat a few moments prior to placing the call. The queasy feeling left from gagging has a lingering effect that can be quite convincing. Those clever planners who know in advance they need a day off may even become "symptomatic" the day before, lending authenticity to their grave condition. Any way you slice it, this is "show pee".

· The "interview".

Monday through Friday in offices all across the country it is happening. At any given moment there is an interview going on and in that place "show pee" is being sprayed.

Interviewer: "Do you have any experience doing blah, blah, blah?"
Candidate: "Why yes. Here, let me get in position."
Interviewer: "Your resume says here you have expertise in this area?"
Candidate: "Oh, yes indeed. Let me just lift my leg here."
Interviewer: "Well, we really need to find someone who has a lot of actual, hands-on experience..."
Candidate: [SQUEEZE]

I rest my case. The dog is at the door.


b i o
P.L. Frank enjoys writing both nonfiction social satire and funny, thought-provoking novels.  Dr. Frank has been a researcher in the field of Behavioral and Social Sciences since 1983, and has worked as a university professor and therapist. 

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