A Philosophical Rat

There was once a rat who tried to understand the world. It was a philosophical rat, a rare kind of rat for its issues were not limited to when the folks around the kitchen table would leave. So this rat, coming to the conclusion that their little scrappy hole couldn’t foster deep thinking, scurried along the rusty water pipes and finally came out on the roof. It was above the neighborhood blanketed in darkness. It was below the glowing yellow ball in the sky and the tiny lights that always looked down.

And the rat asked, “Why do we rats suffer?” But it couldn’t answer its own question because it didn’t know why the folks around the table used a cane (caked in the blood of its relatives) whenever its rat family would go out to get their share of food.

It looked up at the clouds and wondered, “Is there really such a thing as love?” But it couldn’t answer its own question for it couldn’t delve into female rats’ minds and, were it a gay rat, it also couldn’t know what male rats thought. In fact, when it pondered the question more, it didn’t know what love consisted at all.

Continuing on, it scratched its head and asked, “What do I really need to feel satisfied and die a happy rat?” But it also couldn’t answer its own question for, even if it was predisposed philosophically, its basic interest still lay with the food on the kitchen table. Try as it might, if given a choice, it wouldn’t exchange crumbs of bread and the occasional rotten cheese for its roof-top ideas.

Guilty about its base feelings, the rat mused, “What to fight for?” But the rat knew that it was already fighting night and day for the crumbs and the cheese. And countless rats had been crushed by the cane before him. And it knew that, as base as it was, that bloody fight was enough for this life.

It looked down on the brooding, sleeping neighborhood and once again asked, “What is a rat’s true purpose?” But the answer was impossible for it only had rat memories, rat emotions and rat logic that couldn’t possibly put the entire table and the kitchen into proper perspective.

Naturally after pondering about its purpose, the rat asked, “Is there a god?” But alas, the philosophical rat only saw itself in its family, in its dead relatives, even in the weird faces of the folks around the table. So it found that it was useless to picture god for it could only picture itself. “Come to think of it,” said the rat, “I only see myself in this glowing yellow ball in the sky.”

Its heart heavy with defeat, the rat scuttled across the roof, along the rusty water pipes and back to its scrappy hole to sleep.

Little did the rat know that deep within its fur, there was once a philosophical mite.

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