I found the above UBER rat on Mott Street last weekend. Appropriately enough, he and his companion grace a storefront occupied by an exterminator. If the purpose of these Bens-on-steroids is to invoke fear in my person (and move me to make a date to implement the final solution of rat-kind), it fails miserably. Had this store been open I would have asked the proprietor if he would be willing to me sell one of his rats. Nevertheless, ever since I saw these two bad boys (or girls?) I have had rats on the brain…
The newer readers (of this blog) may not be aware of my affection for rats. Hell, the picture my husband and I emailed to our respective families announcing our wedding was taken in front of a scab-busting rat. Miss Heather likes her some rats. And you should too.
Contrary to popular belief, rats are highly intelligent creatures and I for one find their resourcefulness inspiring. If one was to discard all prejudice and take a broader view of things, I doubt he or she would find any real difference between our society and that of our subterranean counterparts. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there is no better representation of the resilient New Yorker spirit than the humble rat. Just like New Yorkers, rats are constantly thinking, adapting and on the make.
Sadly, the same cannot be said about most of our American brethren; a populace epitomized (in my opinion) by an obese dowager at Wal-Mart loading up her rascal scooter with Michael Landon movies and Precious Moments figurines*. There is a very sound reason why most of the world thinks Americans are fat, lazy and stupid: most of us ARE. FAT. LAZY. AND STUPID.
But not the fine citizens of New York Shitty: we are a city of Do-ers. We may not always do good things, but I’d rather cast my lot with eternal damnation than be forced to watch “Highway to Heaven” for five minutes, suffer ‘salads’ made of iceberg lettuce or a Jell-o concoction with all manner and variety of processed food product suspended therein. ‘Nuff said.
The previous pedantic rant out of the way (and boy do I feel better), I’d like to share a little nugget of joy (in the form of a letter to the editor) I received recently from a fellow enthusiast of the absurd. NOTE: In the interest of maintaining the anonymity of my source, names and locations have been changed.
Why not solve the rat problems in a fairly neutral way. Man has been hunting since caveman days. We could open up the main dock walkway for hunters only between dusk and 8 p.m. on Monday nights. The city police could supervise. Rat hunting permits could be issued at a cost of $100 per month adding revenue to the city. Only .22 caliber rifles would be allowed and night vision goggles would be required. Hunters would line up along the pier and shoot the rats as they came out of the rocks.
Since the invention of dumps, rat hunting has been a sport loved by millions. Why not let the city make some money and solve the rat problem in a way that would create joy for our citizens and allow them to get their aggressions out in a way that would benefit the public. An antiques dealer on the Upper East Side has adopted a similar plan to battle the vexatious homeless people blighting his storefront and it appears to be working!
This made my day. Although I am a vegetarian and abhor animal cruelty, I do like good satire. What’s more, senseless violence gives me a serious case of the giggles. (I chock this up to being raised in Texas; I can’t help myself.) Being the kind of person who has to have the last word on everything, I generated a counter-proposal:
Back in the old days, there was an establishment in NYC called “The Sportman’s Hall”. Kit Burns (the proprietor) would pay street urchins a nickel a head for rats to stock his rat pit. Yes, I said “rat pit”.
Not having television (ipods or radio), people back then had to get a bit creative (and repulsive) when it came to an evening’s entertainment. And I ask you, what could possibly be more entertaining than betting on how many rats a man can stomp to death wearing steel-tipped boots in a set period of time?
The way I see it, you could conscript your local juvenile delinquents/jail population to procure the rats. To spice things up a bit, local government (city council?) could be determined by who can kill the most rats (in the above manner) in two minutes. No costly elections— most people (in my opinion) shouldn’t be allowed to vote anyway. Just look at our president elect.
Feel free to pass this idea along to your local authorities.
P.S.: I have had an intriguing afterthought; why not take the rat pulp and whip up some rat burgers? These can be served at the local jail, day care, soup kitchen or via Meals on Wheels.
Many of the problems we Americans face today can be solved with a little footwork and good ol’ New Yorker know-how. This is what makes us feel superior to everyone else (and we are). If any small town yokel begs to differ, dear readers, say what any real New Yorker would say: Fuck You! It’ll give him/her a rousing tale to tell their grandchildren about going to the big shitty (during commerical breaks).
In closing, I would love to see the New York City Council
‘elected’ chosen in the previous manner. The sight of Christine Quinn stomping rats in a pit might make me queer for life.
Think about it.
*Those little angels your Aunt Tilly finds so precious are representations of DEAD BABIES for crying out loud! And some people have the audacity to suggest that I have issues?!?