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Nina In New York: Submissive Rats Still Pose Major Threat

Rat spotted in the Jamaica Center subway terminal on Sept. 21, 2011 (

FILE: New York City Rat (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Superstorm Sandy

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.

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By Nina Pajak

In the wake of Sandy, there was much talk of what would become of our flooded subway tunnels and their revolting occupants. No, I am not referring to mole people, but to the legions of rats who take residence in the maze beneath the city.

Naturally, most people were wondering: would the silver lining of Sandy be the obliteration of the rat population? Would they all be drowned in one merciless, Darwinist swoop? No, said the experts. While some rats would, indeed, drown, those rats would be the dominant ones who stay at home all day, all fat and happy, living like kings while their wimpier brethren toil to feed the clan. That’s fine. Clearly, those rats sound like total d-bags and who needs them? Not us. The ones who would survive—but be driven out of their “natural habitat”—would be the submissive rats. Those who let themselves get bossed around and spend their days scavenging above in the dangerous surface world, cheating death at every turn. They do the dominant rats’ taxes without even asking for a percentage, and they lie to those other rats’ wives about their stinking, cheating husbands, even though the poor submissive rats all know they’d really be the one to treat her right.

So anyway, experts told us it would be these nerd rats who would be the ones to wind up alive and forced to share our turf. And while initially this sounds okay—dweeb rats are better than bully rats, right?—this is a dangerous way of thinking. For it is the nerds who everyone underestimates. They know how to survive without the help of subordinates, and they can properly organize and implement an effective hierarchy and internal infrastructure and they study game theory and understand military strategy all so that they may one day rise up and conquer when no one is looking. If the meek shall inherit the Earth, the submissive rats shall inherit New York City.

And I hate to say it, but I told you so.

Who has been predicting a rat invasion and subsequent enslavement of the human race? Me. Who has been spouting paranoid delusions of vermin unionization and rebellion? Me. Oh sure, I sounded crazy then. Who’s crazy now?

Don’t answer that.

We haven’t seen any evidence of this come to pass, which may have many of you breathing a sigh of relief. But I don’t buy it for a minute. Of course they would expect us to expect them after a massive flood drives them out of the sewers and tunnels. Any idiot can see that first move. They’ve gone underground in the figurative sense, biding their time, just waiting until our backs are fully turned.

You have been warned.