There's a rat. The intercom woman speaks: "The next stop is 47th–50th Streets, Rockefeller Center." The rat is walking in your direction. The train across the platform—other way—is about to leave. "Stand clear of the closing doors, please." The rat is trotting like a wolf. A loud clattering sound: A suitcase down the stairs? Repairs? The rat doesn't care. The rat is galloping. The rat is here. The rat bites. Get off my subway platform, human. Your time is over.
In a lot of ways this is a city built on Pretend. We pretend that we aren't getting older, that we can still be out until four in the morning and it won't be any different when we wake up than it was in our early 20s. We pretend that we have plenty of time to accomplish all the goals we think are still within our reach. We pretend that the careless ways we act and the carelessness with which we allow ourselves to be treated in turn are merely temporary stops on the way to the true happiness that we think is surely our reward for working so hard [...]
"Drug Reduces Gambling Behavior In Slot Machine-Loving Rats" is the headline, and I am not going to click through because there is nothing the article can possibly tell me that will be more amusing than the little story about slot machine-loving rats I have going on in my head right now.
I can't wait til I can just think "Okay, rats, bedtime!" and my team of rat slaves will follow my wordless commands to take off my clothes, put on my pajamas, pull down my blankets and tuck me in for a good night's sleep.
"A plague of mutant 'super rats' has invaded the upmarket town of Henley-on-Thames, the host of the annual Royal Regatta, a new study has disclosed. Researchers found the picturesque riverside Oxfordshire area has been inundated with dozens of the pests, which carry a poison-resistant gene. Having migrated from parts of Berkshire and Hampshire, the brown rats, and their life-threatening diseases, are spreading after being found on several unidentified farms."
When in doubt, always blame people: "Rats weren't the carriers of the plague after all. A study by an archaeologist looking at the ravages of the Black Death in London, in late 1348 and 1349, has exonerated the most famous animal villains in history. 'The evidence just isn't there to support it,' said Barney Sloane, author of The Black Death in London. 'We ought to be finding great heaps of dead rats in all the waterfront sites but they just aren't there. And all the evidence I've looked at suggests the plague spread too fast for the traditional explanation of transmission by rats and fleas. It has to be [...]
When rats die, they go to rat heaven or rat hell. The terminal stations in human afterlives do not have physical locations but do have common physical associations; in the rat afterlife, these associations are both based in reality and inverted. Rat heaven is below, in the subway muck. Rat hell is above, in the nest of a hawk.
Here is something I had not considered: That in Manhattan, and probably Queens and Brooklyn and the Bronx, live hawks. Hawks in windows and hawks on roofs. Big hawks, abducting rodents and laying eggs. This week, hatching them! Nor had I imagined the existence of a network of websites and [...]
It seems like if you live in a place where they make rat traps this big, you should not be surprised by the presence of massive rats. But what do I know? Nothing. The whole fucking world is a mystery by which I am constantly befuddled and surprised, even when it involves something as simple as rat-related miscellany. It's a gigantic goddamn conundrum that will baffle and perplex me until the day I finally die, which cannot come soon enough.
And scene: "Britain's oldest pet dies as tortoise that survived two world wars passes away aged 130 after being bitten on the leg by a rat"
"Absolutely no one likes a rat, a city official said on Tuesday, demanding $1.5 million be restored to the budget to be help control what he called Manhattan's horrific rat problem. Seeing vermin running amok on city streets and in subway tunnels is a turn-off for tourists, said Manhattan Borough president Scott Stringer." —Uh, those of us who live here aren't exactly thrilled by it either.
Uh oh, dude: Having sisters makes you less attractive to other women. Okay, this is actually just the case for rats, but as Science always says, "The results… also have implications for humans." So sure, go with it. It's your sister's fault that you're not getting any.
If you ever take the A from Fulton Street into Brooklyn you'll know that the entire trip, whether it is simply the single stop to High Street or the grand tour to the end of the line, starts with a sense of desolation and despair in a dank hole with dour lighting and never really gets better, as each successive second you spend loping listlessly into Brooklyn brings mounting dread and the increasing certainty that life is a cruel joke in which you are both subject and punchline and that even as desperate as you felt waiting for the train in the first place—as sad and agitated and hopeless [...]
"A deserted cruise ship crawling with cannibal rats is feared to be heading towards Britain, marine experts revealed." There is video, but it is mostly of a boat, which, zzzz.
"How many rats does it take to put together a sheep?" —Before you click on that link think long and hard about why someone might want this information.
It's time for "America's National Holiday," which means watching your favorite animal vermin on video! There is an actual "rat bowl," but it's so disturbing—it features three oiled baby rats, all sliding around and being weird, plus it is really a bowl of old cooking oil in someone's filthy kitchen—that we cannot put it on a family publication such as The Awl. Plus, the "embed code" is turned off. So enjoy this "rat bowling" instead. Do you know the difference between a common rat and a pro football player? The rat has never been arrested for assault or torturing dogs! Also most rats are not homophobic, and none [...]
Robert Sullivan is almost certainly the only man in the country with a holiday greeting card from Anna Wintour on his fridge and a bestseller about rats on his resume. The former exists because of his 20-year gig as a contributing editor at Vogue; the latter comes as a result of the year he spent observing and chronicling the urban creatures as they lived their lives in an alley near Ground Zero.
In the Brooklyn apartment he shares with his preschool teacher wife and two teenage kids—one who recently took off for college with most of his father's drum set in tow—Sullivan explained how a life spent crisscrossing [...]