Looking back on four years of Corcoran Commons Live quesadillas, Carney Dining pasta, and New England Classics grilled to perfection at the Hillside Cafe, our experience with BC Dining exists without complaint. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve left a meal full-bellied and thankful for the opportunity to eat, drink, talk, and think at such premier facilities. But there’s one thing we can’t shake, one stain on our memory of meals that even our rose-colored glasses can’t mask: the Rat.
We have avoided “the Rat,” not unlike how one avoids the plague its mascot carried. We only opt to go there when it is rainy, and when we have no other choice but to subject ourselves to a dungeon of meager provisions. The legends of the cavernous caves of “the Rat” came through story and song. A grimy rodent purporting to sell food? We nearly called the FDA. Only the street toughs of Chestnut Hill, Mass. go there to have sarsaparillas and we have no desire to get caught up with a bunch of Chestnut Hill street toughs. Street cred be damned—we’re opting for safety.
Why would any self-respecting, Eagle-One-Card-carrying member of our community want to associate their soup eating habits with such a wretched creature? For centuries, rats have been responsible for death and destruction, and they have no place near our New England Coffee or lukewarm hot dogs. Consider the following cases.
Bubonic plague: Rats are responsible for spreading a virus that resulted in not only painful boils in the armpits and groin, but also the veritable homicide of 40 percent of 14th Century Europe. Muffins served with boils and a painful death!? Count us out!
Cluny the Scourge: A rat from the distant jungles washes ashore toward the otherwise peaceful abbey of Redwall, only to lay siege to its walls, threatening the livelihood of mice, squirrels, and other critters who live out their days in peace, enjoying strawberry cordial and roasted chestnuts. What a hassle!
The Sewer King of Hillwood, Washington: Arnold (of Hey Arnold! fame) is faced with his greatest trial to date as his grandfather’s Schnitzenbauer Time Master 909 with the Swiss Polar Aligned Triple Synchronous Movement Escapement (read: gold watch) is stolen by the Sewer King’s rat army. Imagine your prized pulled-pork sandwich whisked away by a team of trained rats, only to be returned to you if you can beat the Lyons Hall Septic System Sultan at seven straight games of chess! I’d rather not think about it.
We’re sure at this point rat apologists will be saying “What about Remy from Ratatouille?” to which we say “Ha! How naive!” Only the French would be so careless as to combine cuisine and Rodentia.
Why not align our collective culinary quest with a nobler creature—one that doesn’t suggest contamination and threaten our public health? One that says, “Yes. I think greasy lo mein does sound good today.” We have to look no further than the name etched right above the very building itself: Lyons. What is the mane thing the true lord of Narnia, the rightful king of Pride Rock, and the merciful monarch of Nottingham and its forests have in common? They’re lions.
Aslan, The Great Lion: A divine being who rules with unparalleled majesty, wisdom, and swag. Oh, and he freaking sang the world of Narnia into existence. We always knew music was powerful, but holy cow! Who knew lions could even sing? Bravo, Aslan. Encore!
Mufasa and Simba of Pride Rock: Childhood’s first gut-wrench was the stampede and Mufasa’s death. When he was cast into the void by Scar, we cried with Simba. Guts do not wrench in vain. Nay, they wrench for kings who have Blood-Honor-Contents of greater than 0.30. And lest we forget: Simba, once a helpless hakuna matata cub, returns to his harem with the help of his moral compass and time-lapsed desert running animations to restore his pride to glory.
King Richard I, the Lionhearted (a la Robin Hood): His only wrong is an inability to be in two places at once. Fight a war abroad, and rule a kingdom at home, you say? Even a lion’s heart has its limitations. The king returns after winning the war, however, and proceeds to win back the hearts of Nottingham in charismatic fashion: imprisoning the rapscallion Prince John and honoring those who fight for justice.
Aslan, Simba, Richard I—all are firey felines set aflame by a sense of justice, beloved by their subjects, and heralded by the bards of Walt Disney Pictures. Let us devote our hunger pangs to thee, oh great lions of yore!
And so, we announce to you, denizens of the Heights, the Good Word: the Rat is dead; long live the Lyons Den! Go forth and spread the good news! Join the Pride of the Den over a bowl of over-hyped mac-and-cheese and finely chilled Hood one percent milk.
Featured Image by Breck Wills / Heights Graphics
Will Flautt and Dave Connors are op-ed contributors to The Heights. They can be reached at [email protected]