Don’t Feed the Rats

Uncredited image from Pinterest

Signs in town remind you not to feed the rats.

A reminder, it seems, that cities have their own culture, lingo, pests and pestilences.

Chicago boasts the title of the best city in the United States for its rat problems, according to the pest control company, Orkin.

Seems any community dense with people and housing suffers from an abundance of rats.

Walking the streets you see signs posted on fences and lawns to pick up dog poop because rats feed on it.

And bodegas have signs on their doors to wear masks—although Chicago is slowly adopting mask-optional policies and waitstaff are still masked.

And the pestilence?

Cases and hospitalizations peaked in January this year, compared to the past two years, according to the city’s government website.

Deaths in January mirror deaths last January, although they fell markedly in the months between.

And despite the cool temperatures today—it’s about 32 degrees Fahrenheit—there’s no snow or ice on the ground and the walk to Damn Fine Coffee bar lifts my spirits.

The coffee is wonderful, and I grab a cup and few doughnuts for the family (you cannot eat inside yet) and practically skip to their home.

Chicago is legendary for its doughnuts and the website Kitchn—a purveyor of appliances and recipes—ranked it the Number One City for the best doughnuts—above New York and my beloved Portland.

One day, after learning about heaven in Sunday School, I asked my mum about the mysterious place.

I revealed my greatest concern.

“Mama,” I asked. “Are their doughnuts in heaven?”

6 March 2022

Chicago, Illinois


Damn fine coffee


Doughnuts in heaven




About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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