By Maddie Thompson
As a high school senior, I’m at a pretty crucial point in my life. Questions of college and passions fly by me, I’m padding out my Common App with as many vaguely different clubs and activities as possible (Competitive Air Hockey is 100% a real varsity sport, if you think of it I’m actually already a D1 athlete.) But with these conversations of my future and the possibilities in front of me for higher education and careers, I know that I need to keep my eye on the prize.
There’s one job I want, one career that I have been made specifically for. There is nothing else for me to do in life if this doesn’t work out, this job would be my magnum opus, my great finished symphony. Ask me what I want my future job to be, and I’ll tell you:
I want to be the next New York City Rat Czar.
For those uneducated on the esteemed position, let me enlighten you.
Back in October 2022, New York City Mayor, Eric Adams held a press conference to discuss his plans and goals for his term as mayor. While he made many general claims about ‘cleaning up New York’ and ways he will improve the everyday lives of New Yorkers, there was one quote in particular that spoke to the people: “Everyone that knows me knows one thing: I hate rats.” In one fatal swoop, war was declared. The rats that have once ruled the Big Apple have a judgment day coming, and in April of 2023, the head executioner was decided. Kathleen Corradi was crowned the Rat Czar.
Her duties are many, all pertaining to the elimination of the rats who have made home in New York City. From devising plans to cut off rats' food sources, to using new technology to better catch and deliver rats to their doom, being the Rat Czar is no small task.
Now you may ask me “Maddie! You’re a 17 year old girl from middle of nowhere South Carolina. How could you in any way be suitable for such an esteemed position as NYC’s one and only Rat Czar?”
Here my friends, is where my political genius shines through. For what I lack in general life experience, knowledge of rats, knowledge of how to catch rats, knowledge of New York City, knowledge of rat social habits, knowledge of human social habits, knowledge of how to ride a bike, knowledge of my multiplication times tables, etc. I excel in diplomacy. Michael Parsons, an urban ecologist at Fordham University has devised a 5 step plan to get rid of the rats, but that’s lame and boring. I have a 6 point one.
1: ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH THE NEW YORK CITY RATS HUMAN CZAR
This task is easier said than done. Despite my numerous attempts at cross-species communication, there still seems to be a lack of understanding between the rats and myself. But I will not secede to this minuscule road block. If we have a Rat Czar, then it would only make sense for the rats to have their own ‘Human Czar’ of sorts, I would assume to ensure the rats are provided for in a human-centered society. This Czar will be our main point of contact in this journey forward.
2: OFFICIALLY DECLARE WAR ON THE RATS
According to the laws of American warfare, we can not actually go to war without a unanimous decision from congress and support from all three branches of government. Not to worry however, I’m currently in Honors Government and Economics, so I have a pretty good understanding of how to achieve unanimity in our current government. When we declare war, the battle lines will be drawn and the rats will fall to their little rat knees at our full might.
3: DESTROY THE RATS WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL MIND GAMES
Think of the size of a rat. Small, crushable, fragile. Now think of the size of a human. Big, strong, not crushable. The average rat brain is the size of a grape, (smaller for Staten Island-based rats) The average human brain is the size of two fists, and due to my abnormally large head, we can only assume that my brain would be larger than that. With this pure God-given advantage, the obvious solution to getting rid of our rodent enemies is to challenge them to the world's most intellectual mind game, competitive Candy Crush. The rats would be so confused by the game and enamored by the candy, they wouldn’t even notice as I mentally destroyed them with my brilliant Candy Crush abilities. The casualties would be in the thousands.
4: INFILTRATE THE RAT COMMUNITY FROM THE INSIDE
They’ll never know what hit them until they see me on the rat throne. With help from the RIA (Rat Intelligence Agency) I would infiltrate the Rats system of government from an entry level position, slowly making my way to the top at any means necessary, bribery, blackmail, coercion, you get it. This would take a long amount of time, but I would be prepared to make that sacrifice and fully immerse myself in my undercover role. They would never see it coming.
5: FALL IN LOVE
I mean, have you seen the Rat King’s dreamy eyes, with that gaze you can get lost in? His smile, the way he chatters his teeth, that lovely pizza dinner we had overlooking the New York skyline as we snuck on to the Staten Island fairy like his great rat-ancestors did long ago bringing the bubonic plague to Europe. He’s just thoughtful, and considerate, and kind! I didn't go into this mission expecting love, but I’m a changed woman by the end of this. The rat king has made me a better, well, me!
6: RAISE A WHITE FLAG
It’s after my inside infiltration mission with the rats I realize just how truly misunderstood they are. They all want the same thing that we want: love. (As well as pizza and control of New York, but love is like a big factor.) The rats don't have to be our enemies, we should have never started this war in the first place. In our hatred of those different from us, we lost sight of what makes the Rat Czar a Rat Czar: Diplomacy. The rats did nothing to us, besides bringing disease, taking our food, making a generally unsafe living environment, upset people, etc. So, with my future career as the next New York City Rat Czar, I promise to ensure a safe connection between the humans and the rats for the foreseeable future, this is the way we move on in an honorable society.
And with that, I, Maddie Thompson, declare peace in our time. A future of peace and diplomacy, love and respect, rats and humans living together in harmony.