Dear Dr. Mayfield,

This letter is to inform you that I tender my resignation as the “lab rat who pushes the lever to get the pellet,” effective immediately.

Assessing current economic indicators, I feel now is the appropriate moment to seek fresh opportunities elsewhere in the pellet dispensing sector or other vermin-adjacent enterprises.

This was not a hasty decision, Dr. Mayfield. I am grateful for my time here. Truly.

Our operant conditioning tests continue to yield invaluable data. Every time my paws pushed that metal bar and a pellet rolled down the chute, science got a little closer to cracking the baffling mysteries of addiction.

My parents were so proud I got a steady job at a university and not scrounging in the streets like my 14 brothers and sisters.

They’d say, you got a warm place to sleep and all the pellets you can choke down. No dragging pizza up the subway steps for you. You got it made, kid.

But do I? Really?

If I may quote Paul Krugman, America is a rich country that treats many of its workers remarkably badly.

My hours are long, there’s no clock, and my wages are… well it’s just the pellets, isn’t it?

Krugman says the typical male rat earned virtually no more in 2019 than his counterpart did 40 years ago.

I haven’t had a vacation since…I haven’t had a vacation.

It’s lonely work. I have no one to turn to and say, “you know, Kyle, the pellet seems kinda chewy today. Somebody went nuts with the dehydrated alfalfa.”

And there’s no security, much less respect. God forbid a rat say the words “repetitive stress injuries” to the great Dr. Mayfield, who knows there are 50 hungry applicants waiting in the alley to take my place.

Banging on that metal bar gave me carpal tunnel in both paws but will you give me an hour off to see Dr. Bordone, my orthopedic hand specialist?

Shut up and eat your pellet, rat. That seems to be the mantra around here.

So I bang on the bar. And I eat the pellet. And it tastes like failure.

No more.

Since the pandemic, me, and a lot of other rats out there, are rethinking everything.

You’re not just going to stick us in a maze or a wheel and expect us to grind it out anymore. I know there are lots of rats out there scrambling for their next meal but if we don't dream of something better for ourselves, who will?

Yes. OK. I need the pellet—we all need the freaking pellet—but do I really need it from you?

Life's too short, typically 18 to 36 months with proper exercise and diet.

I read that in Finland a rat can get $600 a month from the government—for doing nothing.

Think about that.

Sincerely,

Rat #34-44-R


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