There is a hairless, diseased squirrel running loose around campus. Perhaps you’ve seen it? Its skin is gray, tough and wrinkled and it has bloody spots on its legs and head from scratching itself.

A squirrel disease expert has diagnosed the creature with notoedric mange, a condition where mites bury themselves under the squirrel’s skin, causing all of its fur to fall out. Usually, squirrels with this disease die from exposure in the winter months. But this particular squirrel will live, however, because the winter months have passed. It will become immune to the mite and grow all of its fur back. Yes!

The squirrel’s clothing (its fur) has been taken from it by a terrible disease. What does the squirrel do? It doesn’t stagger around the Diag in the early winter months with its hair falling out, eventually keeling over and dying a pathetic, lonely, naked death. It perseveres through hardship.

The squirrel fights, and one spring day, it wakes up and realizes it is going to live. It rubs lotion on its gray and wrinkly skin, wraps its wounds in bandages and drives its car to the store for the latest issue of Vogue. It grows back the thickest, most beautiful fur in Ann Arbor, so shiny you can see your reflection in it.

So what does this have to do with fashion? The diseased squirrel is signaling a change. School is ending, spring is here, and what else could that mean but rebirth? If you need reinvention or rejuvenation in your wardrobe, don’t be afraid to make it now. This is the season for change. Scared to bust out? Just think of yourself as a mangey squirrel with open wounds on top of your bald head. Ready for change now?

Maybe this was just an excuse to talk about the squirrel I saw the other day. Whatever, you can decide for yourself. The squirrel loves it. I love it. You love it. We all love it.

Faria can be reached at fjabbar@umich.edu

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