Alright gather round kiddos and we're gonna talk about Ego Check and Staff Week
Get ready for rambling and horrible storytelling
I work at a Boy Scout camp, it's my second year working there. It's also Ego Check's second year. Last year, he barely said three words to me. I distinctly remember having to put canopies out at different areas with him and he didn't talk the entire time. This was five hours of us working and not speaking. It's not that we didn't like each other, it was just we travelled very different social circles; he hung out with the outdoor skills staff (which is stereotypically the area with the most testosterone, more on that in a minute), and I was usually with NEST (Nature, Ecology, Science, Technology) staff. I was also a lot more shy and I was very intimidated by him last year, and I also only worked like three out of eight weeks so I never really got to know him, nor did I want to. He didn't seem to want anything to do with me either.
So this year's staff week rolls around. Staff week is basically the week before camp officially starts so we can all get our training and get last-minute things put together for areas and such.
20 seconds into the first day he waves me over in the dining hall, calls me by name, and says "hey sit with me, we're gonna be outnumbered if we don't stick together."
And like immediately my guard is up because
1.) I barely remember this kid
2.) I don't remember his name
3.) He's acting like we were best buds or somethin and we weren't
But I sit down with him anyways because once again Ego Check intimidates me and I wasn't about to turn down an open invitation without a good reason/excuse.
Usually with staff week, the table you sit with is the table you stay with for the whole week, with a few exceptions of people shuffling around. But for the most part people sit with the people they want to sit with to begin with.
Sitting at this table was
Ego Check's friend (who was basically his brother from another mother, I have a story about him later) that I'll call Hatchet
A girl I'll call Archer
And Another girl I'll call— oof I can't say that here but I almost got her fired and I'm angry that she wasn't— let's call her Big Oof
There were a few others that flitted around but overall those are the important people
All of the people at this table are CITs. We don't work in a specific area and we bounce around from week to week just learning the ropes and how things worked. Some of us are better than full staff members when it comes down to it so we get more responsibility. Ego Check, Hatchet and I are second year CITs, meaning we're basically mobile, underpaid full staff (this is important I promise lol).
For the first few days it was just sitting through training after training. Being our second time doing this, we've heard a lot of this before, so the three of us are just whispering jokes to one another. We have some free time in between sessions so we talk and stuff. So we get to actually know each other. As a person, I'm generally very guarded about my personal life and my emotions in general. Ego Check picked up on this and basically made it his mission to get me to open up to him, which only strengthened my instinct not to. I got to see how he worked, as a person. He was confident and manipulative, with a hint of narcissism. A total queen bee. Hatchet and him were attached at the hip. Understandable, they go to the same school in the off season and were already best friends. Hatchet was basically his partner in crime. Together, the two of them are insufferable. It takes a certain person with a lot of patience and a general easygoing personality to handle being around them for more than ten minutes *cough* me *cough*. I saw how he took favors and kept them as leverage whenever he wanted to get someone to do something. I made sure to pay those off as fast as possible so I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to.
It was almost like he wasn't aware of it. Like he just expected people to like him, and the people who didn't weren't worth his time anyways. In a way I kind of envied his blatant disregard for what other people thought but at the same time it was immensely frustrating. As a CIT II, he was acting more like a leader, but not a leader that people liked.
He constantly complained about the CIT I's. They weren't competent, they were lazy, they were whiny, etc. A lot of them were, but they were also doing their best. He was expecting them to act like full staff. They're not expected to, and they're not paid enough to act like it either.
The CIT I's complained to me about him as much as he complained to them about me.
In general I sensed a rift growing inbetween my group of five and the others, and the tension was building. I made an effort to be a bridge between the two and hung out with the CIT I's more, but all they wanted to do was complain about Ego Check.
That's what fascinated me, was that they thought I was able to do something about it. It got to the point where our boss, the CIT director, came up to me and said "you need to check his ego". Hence the name.
So I was there, babysitting him, for the rest of the week.
I was a witness to three fights, one where a knife was pulled. Ego Check was always in the middle of it. I broke them up before anything bad happened, but I was an a n g e r y boi afterwards.
During the week it dawned on me that I was one of the few people that Ego Check actually respected out of the CITs. He listened to me and jokingly called me Mom whenever I told him not to do anything stupid. He did stupid things a lot. He repeatedly told me that I was the most responsible out of the bunch and "the only reason I haven't gotten fired yet"
*spits out water* I almost forgot the nights of staff week
Oh lawdy they was weird
•So it was around the first two nights. Ego Check, Hatchet, Archer, Big Oof, and I were hanging out at another campsite on the property. Archer and Hatchet were lowkey dating at the time. Just hand-holding and sitting next to each other, nothing serious (because we're technically not allowed to date each other during the season). The conversation turned to romance and all that. Ego Check was v e r y interested in my history and I wasn't really giving anything up because I'm not about to share that stuff with him yet. I made an offhand remark about not being straight, and he got interested. I don't really know what I am yet, and I told them this, so obviously everyone started calling out the names of other staff members to see if I would date them n stuff.
Inevitably, Ego Check looks me dead in the eye and says "would you date me?"
I said no, and started laughing because you can kind of tell he wasn't the type to usually get rejected and I kind of feared for my life so it was more out of nervousness than humor
He looked a little hurt and then, word-for-word, replied "That's just because you haven't seen my abs yet." aND STARTS PULLING UP HIS SNAPCHAT SO HE CAN SHOW ME HIS SIX PACK
Like dude no
I've already seen them and they're great and all but I'm worried about you literally punching me into a wall or trying to deal with your personality 24/7
•Everyone but Big Oof liked going on walks at camp at night. Ego Check is very superstitious and watches too much Supernatural so as he puts it, "I'm not afraid of the dark, I'm afraid of what's in the dark"
So we were only staying on the gravel paths, and every once in a while I'd veer down a trail into the woods just to mess with him because if this is his one insecurity, you bet I'm going to press that button every chance I get
Apparently one time I went too far because he yelled my name, grabbed me from behind, picked me up, and carried me back to the gravel.
I'm 5'2 and like 120lbs
So he's got like six inches and a hundred pounds on me, on top of being an athlete.
I have a few rules about my personal space which include
-don't touch me without my permission
-don't touch my back
-don't hug me
He violated all of those in one movement
So I was a little mad
I didn't talk the rest of the time
Which was awkward because since Hatchet and Archer were with us we had slowed down so they could have space
So it's just me and Ego Check 50 ft behind the happy couple
We ended up going to the amphitheater and Archet decided to go back to the campsite. Both Ego Check and I were still back. Suddenly social anxiety ahoy
Do I follow Archet and ditch Ego Check so I don't have to be around him, even though he would probably follow me as well?
Or do I sit with the guy who has been the source of many headaches even though it's only been two days?
You bet I stayed right where I was because I like self sabotage and can't stand up for myself
So I'm staring out into the lake trying to stop myself from having a panic attack
And he scoots over to me and starts talking about stars and constellations and pointing them out to me.
And I realized, much, much later, that this was the way he was trying to apologize to me because outright saying he did something wrong would hurt his self image too much, so talking about astronomy was the way to go apparently.
After he was done he just looked at me expectantly like he just thought I would open up like we was in a movie or sumthin
I still didn't say anything and eventually I got up and left
That is still the most awkward experience of my life
•I was dealing with stuff outside of camp/forums and it was something that I wanted to handle on my own and didn't think anybody else needed to know about at that point
He kind of picked up on the fact that I wasn't really happy and asked me what was wrong
I said not to worry and that I was handling it and to drop it
I got up to leave because I knew he wasn't going to let it go
He immediately slides in front of my to physically block my way and says "are you lying to me"
B r o if I wanted to tell you what was going on, I would
So i moved around him
He did it again
Eventually he stopped and I went into my tent
Not ten minutes later he sticks his hand through the flap, holding a piece of pizza
He basically told me to take it before he would come in and force feed it to me
I honestly don't want to test him on that so I took it
Then I felt bad for ignoring him the past few days and came out of the tent
He looked so proud of himself uwu
We talked a little, got things straightened out, and were fine the rest of the week. He stopped causing problems once all the CITs were assigned to their areas for the first week and the rest of the time went more or less smoothly
There's a couple isolated stories but I'll get to those later
If the mods even let this through I would be surprised
If you've stuck it out through the whole thing I'm proud of you
Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk/ranting about my coworkers
If you have questions please ask because I will literally talk about camp for hours, I love it so much ahhhhhhh