Kriston Capps is a staff writer for CityLab covering housing, architecture, and politics. He previously worked as a senior editor for Architect magazine.
It just doesn’t add up.
In New York City, the Year of the Rat continues. First there was Pizza Rat, duh. Then there were the Pizza Rat Wars, in which terrible New Yorkers threw whole slices of pie on the ground in the hopes of getting in on the Pizza Rat sensation. Now New York is taking things in a different—and way worse—direction with Selfie Rat.
Oh I smell a rat, all right. Just not, like, a rat rat.
Here’s the set-up. So an out-of-towner from Connecticut just happens to be standing idly but observantly on a subway platform in Crown Heights in Brooklyn, where a young man just happens to be sleeping in an odd spot on the ground of the station. Not just an odd spot but also an odd posture—just, odd. This Brooklyn dude just happens to be sleeping in the path of a rat that just happens to be the least rat-like rat that ever ratted: a fearless rodent that climbs up the chest of a slumbering mammal that is at least 200 times its mass.
And for what? To snuggle? To sing every rat’s favorite lullaby into our Brooklyn friend’s ear? The rat must’ve been going for affection, because when the man jumps awake—with a startled, stage-ready what the—?!?! full-body spasm—the rat doesn’t then run around all crazy like a normal rat would. This rat kind of just sits there like a rat who had been casually dejected, turning this way and that as if looking for a familiar face—as if to say, Did everyone just see that? but knowing in its little rat heart that no, no one just saw that, it’s New York and no one cares, it’s awful.
Of course, our Connecticut Yankee saw it all. Don Richards shot the video and stage-whispers, “Yo, he’s got a rat on him” in the second before the man jumps up as if to shout “Yo, I am the person who has had a rat on me!” Then Richards turns off the camera without finding out what happens to the rat. (See? New York is cruel.)
Off-screen, the Brooklyn guy checks his phone which the rat just happened to accidentally snap a selfie—because of course it did, that is a thing that makes sense with what we know about rats and also phones—and then the two of them give all this #shareable #content to the local Fox affiliate.
You know, look. We’ve got ISIS running around, Donald Trump is going to be president, the Patriots are undefeated. Everything is terrible. Selfie Rat is the last thing we need—or maybe it’s exactly what we need right now. But nobody has time for Fake Selfie Rat.