Wednesday, February 15, 2012

979 The Laughing Rat

979 The Laughing Rat

Ever hear a rat laugh?  Want to?  If so, be on a subway platform the day they put up those warning signs about rat poison on the tracks.  The poison doesn’t do a whole lot for population control.  But it turns the 34th St. E train stop and others into an underground comedy club for the four footed.

Why are there rats in the subway tunnels?  You might as well ask “why is there gravity?”

There are all kinds of explanations, all of them inadequate.  But one of the chief suspects is food.  They asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks and he answered it was because that’s where the money is.  So, too, do rats go where the food is.

And now comes the well meaning State Senator Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) with the astounding idea that if you take away the food, you get rid of the rats.  And he is behind legislation to stop eating on the subway.

This works in Taipei.  You’re not permitted to eat or drink or chew gum in the cars or on the platforms.  And they enforce it.  Big time. The stations and the trains are clean as autoclaves. But Taipei’s system is relatively new and they started it out with the rule in place.  Their passengers are as industrious as ours and as hurried.  But they got early training in non-eating.  No one has ever seen a rat on the tracks there.

New York is a different story.   Our system is a million years old and has a cultural memory that goes back to the start.  Eating in the subway is in our DNA.  Unfortunately, so is leaving the leavings in the cars, on the platforms, and in some cases on the tracks.

Your idea is good, Sen. Perkins.  But it’s never going to happen. Not here.


Shrapnel:

--Here’s a cool way to improve America’s trade imbalance.  Sell hip replacements overseas even if they were recalled here.  Congratulations to Johnson & Johnson for hitting on this patriotic marketing plan.

--Here’s an uncool way of maintaining cordial relations between Mormons and Jews:  continue posthumous baptisms of Holocaust survivors even though the church has banned the practice.  The LDS leadership has apologized to activist Simon Wiesenthal for allowing the after-death baptizing of his parents last month, 17 years after the ban went into effect.

--Everyone has heard the big stories about Whitney Houston.  But some of the small stories and background stories fill out the picture.  Here’s one by friend and colleague Dianne Thompson Stanciel (Click Here.)


Have You Noticed how rewarded you feel when your “rewards” credit card sends you the bill and it says “no payment due this month?”

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
More of this nonsense at Wessays Extras which is clickable on the right side of this page under the heading “My Blog List.”
© WJR 2012

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