short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography
There were rats, rats, big as bloomin’ cats, in the store, in the store… as the old wartime song goes. My father used to get us all to sing it on long car journeys to the sea. Despite the true tale behind it, it was a jolly little song, which my three sisters and I learned to join in with. But we could never have imagined it might come true again.
With the sensationalist media reports of super-rats up to 2ft long being found in kitchens from Uppsala through Henley to Freiburg anyone might think a new breed of rat is invading Europe. But no. Despite the conclusions of most delusionists, there is no new mutant species of super-rat. However, there does seem to be a direct correlation between the growing size of humans in the Western world, and the growing size of rats. Both appear to be related to the explosion in consumption of fatty, takeaway, fast foods.
The rats, the old war song refers to, fed on rotting corpses lying in the trenches during the First World War. And then they moved in on the quartermaster’s store to satisfy their growing appetites. The centenary of the official start of WW1, the deadliest conflict in history, falls on July 28th 2014. I won’t be putting the bunting up or getting out the flags. Nevertheless, led by David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, there is a section of British society, who seem to think the start of a war that claimed over over 60 million lives, some of whose corpses were desecrated and devoured by rats, is a cause for national celebration. Presumably they’re among the international bankers and arms dealers, who made their fortunes, while other people’s children died, or their bodies were permanently mutilated. Lest we forget.
Now the same sort of people make some of their fortunes in other controversial ways. The giant rats of today feed on casually discarded, takeaway, junk food and its packaging. In the same way grossly obese people are not superhuman, in the manner of Superman, grossly obese rats are not super-rats. They are the result of a fast food, takeaway society, which disposes of its surplus junk food by throwing it on the streets, or into open bins left unemptied too long. And the reason, as always, is to do with money and profit margins.
The detritus of fast food outlets is designed specifically to become someone else’s problem, and something else’s treat. The taxpayers pay for the clean-up, while city councils allow the multiplying rodents to do a great part of it, bringing with them infections and disease. If the people are so fat they can throw away food, it’s little wonder the rats are getting even fatter. And so are the people with the contracts to do the cleaning. Because they ain’t doing it properly.
But it still comes down to us. We, the people who eat this shit, and shove it down our children’s gullets as we plonk them in front of the telly to keep them quiet.
The problems super-rats pose, when they start looking to get even fatter by coming into our houses to raid, are not so different from the problems posed by our obese children raiding the fridge at night, or stealing from our purses to buy a packet of chips. Both end up in disease of one type or another, and are a drain on our hard-earned incomes.
They are a direct result of Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, and their like, deciding it’s cheaper for them to have us eating outside their premises than in. They don’t have to pay people to wait on customers, or wash up, and they even expect you to clear your own tables. So it’s not surprising their takeaway customers follow the same philosophy of expecting someone else to clean their mess up after them either.
Fast food restaurants are designed to get most people to eat on the streets, or anywhere else but their premises. They don’t pay rent for the streets, and they don’t pay the amount of taxes it takes to clean them up. They don’t pay for the rat infestations, or the heavy weight literally put on over-strained health services and caused by the junk foods they serve. They don’t pay for the heart attacks, the wheelchairs, the mental anguish, and the diet psychologists. Like big pharma, and big farming, they just frack the cash fatness provides.
Big King, Kentucky, Whopper McRat is not an accident of evolution, he is the result of a commercial ploy to take advantage of the free market and the taxpayer by passing on the real cost of highly-addictive, salt-loaded and sugar-cut, takeaway food to a gullible public.
Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming
Click on A plague of orphan, baby rats – for a short story on rats
To write about my memories, past and present
An exploration into understanding the complexities of the Chemical Age, the Synthetic Chemical Revolution, and the toxins that impact us all
Singer Songwriter / Writer / Outsider/Vocal Animateur/Poet/Performer/ Learning Gardener/Ducker & Diver| Lover of Nature|Clown|Snapper of pics since 1968|Mother of Sam & Kasia xx/Aunt to Sacha/Lover of sea & sky, trees and The River Thames|Confused by Human Beings?| Almost given up| ? NO!
Une fois. Encore.
Public interest issues, policy, equality, human rights, social science, analysis
Hold your verve
More Coyotes than Wolves
My journey into sketching and drawing in and around Jimena de la Frontera, Andalucia