Last night, as one of my friends partied at the Playboy mansion, and another got married in upstate New York, I found myself trapped in New York for personal reasons, where, among some very nice time spent with my cousin, who I salute on his birthday, I witnessed the greatest rat fight ever seen. You forget, after you've left New York, how large rats can get. The ones we saw looked like small dogs. And they weren't making gourmet food. Perhaps you'll wan more thoughts on the matter from Sean Wilsey, who lovingly discusses one of my favorite Joseph Mitchell works "Rats on the Waterfront" in an LRB piece from a couple years ago. And here, below, is a brief quote from Mitchell's masterpiece:
"The brown rat is an omnivorous scavenger, and it doesn't seem to care at all whether its food is fresh or spoiled. It will eat soap, oil paints, shoe leather, the bone of a bone-handled knife, the glue in a book binding, and the rubber in the insulation of telephone and electric wires. It can go for days without food, and it can obtain sufficient water by licking condensed moisture off metallic surfaces. All rats are vandals, but the brown rat is the most ruthless . . . Instead of completely eating a few potatoes, it takes a bite or two out of dozens. It will methodically ruin all the apples and pears in a grocery in a night. To get a small quantity of nesting material it will cut great quantities of garments, rugs, upholstery, and books to tatters. In warehouses, it sometimes goes berserk . . . One night, in the poultry part of the old Gansevoort Market, alongside the Hudson, a burrow of them bit the throats of over three hundred broilers and ate less than a dozen. "
Note the lack of a picture above this post. I do not want the likeness of these beasts on my blog.