I am the proud owner of a fascinator.

Whether or not this is literally true for you, this is utterly true for you.

A fascinator is a piece of headgear that elevates and exhilarates any head it crowns. Fascinators come in all colors, shapes, and levels of Gleefully Insane, but the general idea is a large flower-like object that sits atop your head. The larger, the sparklier, the more absurdly adorned, the better. Bring on the rhinestones and petals and actual fluttering birds.

There is nothing shy about wearing a fascinator, which is all the more reason you should wear yours to the supermarket, Tabby’s Place, and/or church.

I was gifted my first fascinator (extra large and ragin’ pink) by one of the dearest, coolest, truest friends I will ever love. This — crowning a wobbly being with a fascinator — is what the coolest, truest friends do. Although my fascinator is currently crowning a large plush Baby Yoda rather than my own scraggly head, it reminds me to be at least one notch more outrageous than I would naturally be inclined.

It is in this sense that I’m quite confident you, too, are the proud owner of a fascinator. Perhaps more than one. Perhaps more than ten.

I am talking about your cat(s). I am talking about your companions. But even if you live in a catless castaway hut off the shores of Tuvalu, you are the proud owner of a fascinator.

I am talking primarily about your courageous, outrageous heart.

You are the proud — albeit unwitting — owner of a heart that hurts and whoops and hurls itself into every cat’s story. I am certain of this. I see you. I know you. (I do not mean this to be half as creepy as it sounds. No, that isn’t me peeking out of your pantry right now, although you do have good taste in artisanal peanut butter.)

And today, I offer you one freewheeling fascinator eager to unleash your own personal panache.

You have already beheld the glory of one Elliot Rosenberg, and you have been appropriately slain. Archaeologists, paleontologists, and theologians hypothesize that it is possible there was once a creature cuter than Elliot, but they seriously doubt it.

Elliot, after all, is the leaping, lunatic, love-driven equivalent of a cookies and cream milkshake, all shook up with a kind of frantic, grateful, gorgeous love of life. He has not ceased to be astounded by his own existence from the moment we met him. He is young, but such a chronic astonishment seems irreversible. Mark my words: Elliot will be even more exuberant and elated and infatuated with his very own life when he’s 18.

This is all despite the fact that El has a tummy that would send lesser beings tumbling after a weighted blanket and a full box of Beano. If there’s one thing as relentless as Elliot’s thrill over being Elliot, it’s his gut.

Tummy troubles are no picnic, but neither are they a match for a fascinator. So, day by day, Elliot crowns himself with courage and ridiculousness and goes on rejoicing.

Spend enough time watching him wear his wonder, watching him wear himself out with wheels-off merriment, watching him “WHEEEEEEEEE!” his way through this very imperfect, very glorious life, and you just might find yourself fully fascinated.

It’s hard to keep a good cat (or human, or winged dinosaur) down.

It’s hard to mope when there are flowers and funny objects and feisty-joyful thoughts atop your very being.

So feist forward, you fascinating folks. Remember that you were born to be a zestful creature. Lift high your sparkling, scraggly heads, and let out whoops of gratitude, even in the mire, especially in the mire.

One cookies-and-cream character is counting on you.

Elliot is substantially more fascinating than this individual, which is, obviously, saying a lot.

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