These Bitches are Just Tryna Live.

Originally published on the College Voice‘s summer blog, the Summer Voice.

New York City may be the vermin capital of the United States. The city teems with creatures so filth-ridden and depraved they nearly defy enumeration—rats, cockroaches, Collegiate alumni. Out of the corner of one eye, you see something emerge from a crack in the wall, scurry along the floor, buy your friend a drink. It’s enough to make your skin crawl.

A dense human population is bound to attract creepy crawlies of all sorts, stockpiling crumbs and hatching in feces—talk about eking. Somehow, the least desirable remnants of human and animal life are idyll and pasture for the overwhelming majority of living things. And why not? A complete lack of dietary standards ensures, if nothing else, the near impossibility of going hungry.

Phrased in these terms, it seems fair to ask if evolution may have done us wrong. We can barely digest cellulose, the most common organic compound on Earth, and without water we die in a matter of days. Meanwhile, cockroaches will eat anything from dead mice to glue, and can survive for weeks without a head. Frankly, I’m worried. How can I compete with that?

The more I think about it, the more respect I have for the simple subway rat, casually looking for food amid crushed Pepsi cans and spent MetroCards, little pink ratlets clinging to its mangy back. It’s almost inspiring to see living creatures with such a narrowness of objective. How much more advanced am I, standing upright and reading? Okay, a lot more advanced, but I’m still hungry.

Staring down at the tracks, I see one rat make a beeline for an old buffalo wing. Whose fault is that? These bitches are just tryna live.

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