5 life lessons we learned from #PizzaRat

A hero rat seen carrying a large slice of New York pizza down a subway staircase becomes an online sensation and an inspiration to us all.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

Pizza Rat
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Pizza Rat
Go forth, brave Pizza Rat! Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Not since the 2007 animated movie "Ratatouille" has a culinary-inclined rat been so popular. A determined rodent caught on film hauling a massive piece of pizza down the stairs in the New York City subway has become an Internet smash. Twitter hails the new hero as #PizzaRat.

#PizzaRat is trending on Twitter with over 17,000 tweets so far. It just goes to show that a furry animal and a slice of pie mixed with the Internet on a Monday can be a potent combination for viral glory.

The video appears to have originated with YouTube user Matt Little, who posted the video Monday. It's all of 14 seconds long. Spoiler alert: Pizza Rat bravely carries the slice only to abandon it near the bottom of the staircase. If you're an optimist, then you can believe the rat came back later to pick it up and feast until its little belly was full.

Twitter's reaction to the furry protagonist allows us to distill some life lessons from the rat's bold struggle.

1) Your dreams are worth fighting for, even if your dream is just a stale piece of pizza.

US Olympic Team figure skater Alex Shibutani shared this contemplative advice, which would also look great on a motivational poster featuring Pizza Rat:

2) Awesome power sometimes comes in small packages.

That slice of pizza is absolutely huge compared with Pizza Rat. The little fella is putting out a tremendous amount of effort to move it along. Do you think Pizza Rat thought twice about tackling this daunting task? No! Pizza Rat saw that slice and went for it. For a brief, glorious moment, Pizza Rat was the Superman of the rodent world.

3) Pizza is good. Really good.

Forget Klondike bars, what would you do for a slice of pizza? Our nation is obsessed with the heady mixture of bread, cheese and toppings. New York City in particular prides itself on its thin-crust creations. It appears that Pizza Rat's particular slice is just cheese-only, but it proves that Americans, human or not, will fight for their right to pizza.

4) The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might be real.

We have a rat with seemingly super-rodent strength. We have the undeniable allure of a piece of pizza. There's really only one explanation that makes sense. This rat is Master Splinter, the Mr. Miyagi of the Mutant Turtle world. He's carrying his prize back to the sewers to feed his ninja proteges.

5) We are all Pizza Rat.

Pizza Rat isn't just a rat carrying a pizza. Pizza Rat is an American anti-hero, battling the odds, staring down the maw of a thankless society, trying in vain to justify just one more slice of greasy pizza. We can all relate to this.

We can celebrate Pizza Rat and simultaneously mourn the loss of our innocence as we watch the American dream slide cheese-side down over a dirty subway staircase. Or maybe it was just hungry. And so are we.