The Rat Hole that Won Our Hearts

Written by on January 24, 2024

The Rat Hole that Won Our Hearts – by Liam Sweeny.

I have a favorite dumpster. It’s on a back alley in Troy, and I’ll leave it at that, because if I’m ever in a sort that I need to make use of its creature comforts, I don’t want you in there eating my half-chewed piece of pizza. But I love it. It’s got just the right amount of graffiti, and they empty it just seldom enough that it gives off an eu de garbage most days.

Is it weird to have a favorite dumpster? Do all favorites have to be good things? Can you have a favorite STD? Not because you have it, but because you admire it, like Gonorrhea wishes it was syphilis when they out cruising the bars? I’m going to say you can have favorite shitty things. And in Chicago, the Southside is very fond of a shitty thing.

Southsiders love a rat hole. This is not a dive bar or the shiny jewel of a slumlord. This is a hole in the pavement that looks exactly like a ran-over rat. Looking at it, you know this wasn’t something that looks like a rat – a rat got steamrolled by the pavers and left its mark.

Southsiders love this thing, giving it due reverence. So when someone, name unknown, filled the hole in with a white plaster-like substance, the neighborhood mourned, putting flowers and candles around the rat-grave slash pothole (technically it’s a pothole.)

There’s a meme out there where a landlord, eager to get an apartment ready for new tenants, painted right over a roach, affixing it to the wall. It’s funny. Gross, but funny. The Southside rat hole is sort of like that. And I’m not sure what the rat situation is in Chucago, but I know what it is in Albany, and I can only imaging what rats are doing with deep dish.

Moral of the story? Find your shitty thing to love, and love it well. It might get run over some day.



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