I’m a Jew, and this is July, so you’d be correct in thinking it odd that I’m all hopped up and excited about a Christmas sweater. Yup, it’s the Jewish Christmas in July.
Here’s what happened. Allia Zobel Nolan, who wrote “Women Who Still Love Cats Too Much” had a little contest. If you posted a picture of her book, along with proof that you had it in your own little paws, on social media and tagged her, you would be entered in a drawing. The winner of the drawing, chosen by Allia’s cat, would be the proud recipient of a cat-themed Christmas sweater.
I had to have this thing. It was maybe the tackiest, most horrible sweater I’d ever seen, and I wanted it more than I wanted chocolate. I bought Allia’s book. (It’s funny! You should buy it, too!) When it came in the mail, I posted a picture of it on Facebook (a blurry picture, because my hands shake and I can’t take a focused photo; and a sideways picture, because I can’t figure out how to rotate photos on my phone). I tagged Allia, and thought of catnip and mice and other cat-terrific things in case it would help me win.
On the evening of May 31, the names of the entrants were placed on Allia’s table, and her cat, Nolan Nolan, was allowed up there. The first name he swatted off the table would be the winner. And it was mine. Allia wished me a hearty con-cat-ulations.
Because I use up my luck on things like winning horrific cat Christmas sweaters and not the Powerball Jackpot. Whatever. The sweater makes me happy, and we all know that money doesn’t buy happiness. But it can buy you a book, which buys you an entry into the cat sweater lottery, which can get you the cat sweater, and that looks a lot like happiness.
I finally got the sweater in the mail. It was even better than promised. The colors were more vivid. The gold lame-wrapped presents more shiny. The felted cats more playful. I put it on, and I didn’t want to take it off. This is a picture of me wearing it over the dress I happened to be wearing that day, and with the hot pink fake Crocs I keep under my desk for when dress shoes make me want to cry. I look like a madwoman. It might be my favorite picture of me ever.
Eventually I took off the sweater, and got on with my working day. I folded it up neatly and placed it on a table in my office. I didn’t want to take it home. I wanted it near me.
Today, for completely irrelevant reasons, my daughter came to visit me in my office. It was raining when she came in and her long hair and thin t-shirt were damp. The air conditioner gave her a chill. She found the sweater, and put it on. It hung nearly to her knees. She refused to take it off. She pulled her legs up under it and reveled in its soft, warm, horribleness.
I told her that instead of grounding her the next time she broke the rules, that I would make her wear the sweater to school.
She looked at me with that pitying gaze she reserves for people she considers beneath contempt, which is, I suppose, most everyone. “Mom. If you don’t think I would wear this sweater to school on purpose, you don’t know me at all.”
I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.