If you hang around Tabby’s Place for any length of time, you will unavoidably encounter the word “shmoldie.”
Repeatedly. Inescapably. Inexplicably.
Around the lunch table. In casual conversation with confused adopters. In casual conversation with very confused FedEx delivery people. By your second month working or volunteering or loitering at Tabby’s Place, “shmoldie” will be a permanent fixture of your vocabulary, like it or not.
The etymology of “shmoldie” is a matter of debate. No one is sure how we all started saying it constantly, but reliable sources always lead back to Jonathan. This much is certain:
- Shmoldie can be a noun, describing a person (e.g. “What are you shmoldies up to?”), place (“He went out to East Shmoldieville and we never saw him again”) or thing (“Hand me that little shmoldie over there. No, the other one.”)
- Shmoldie can be a verb, describing anything that seems capable of shmoldieing (e.g. “Stop shmoldieing around over there.” “We’re gonna shmoldie on it a little.” “She’s still shmoldieing.”). Note the frequent use of “around,” as in “shmoldieing around,” and the imperative to desist shmoldieing around.
- Shmoldie can be an adjective, describing anything, full stop (e.g. “I met a little shmoldie kinda guy.” “Bucca is seriously shmoldie today.” “My trip to Mauritius was super shmoldie.”)
- Shmoldie is best used as an exclamation, to express extreme pleasure, displeasure, surprise, boredom, constipation, etc. (e.g. “SHMOLDIE!”)
- There is nothing shmoldie cannot do. Case in point: in a previous incarnation of the Tabby’s Place website, if you triggered a certain rare error, a dialog box would leap up stating, not “Error,” not “Click here,” not “OK” … but “SHMOLDIE!”
Why am I telling you all of this? Simple: you and I and all the cats are inescapably surrounded by shmoldies.
This is especially on my mind as we approach All Saints Day and All Souls Day. We’re all a buncha souls in need of prayer and patience and pizza; we all want to be a buncha saints; but whatever else we are, and wherever we are on the high-speed train between all the saints and all the souls, we are a big buncha shmoldies.
I’m of the not-quite-authoritative theological opinion that all cats have souls, and all feline souls are promoted immediately upon death to sainthood. (We can fight about this later, if you like. But then again, if you want to fight me on this, you’re probably not reading this blog.)
But verily, verily I tell you; even then, they retain their shmoldieness.
So on the week when we pray for the souls and reach for the saints, remembering those we’ve lost and communing across the veil, may we never, ever forget the shmoldies.
Every shmoldie you see here has shmoldied off this mortal coil in 2019. Every one of them was, and is, exceptionally shmoldie.
And so, beautiful souls, are you. Ora pro nobis, shmoldies!
*That’s Patches in the top thumbnail, c. 1998 – 2019. Yes, Patches was there for N*SYNC and Titanic and all of us.