I got a call from my son’s school counselor saying that he did
not yet have his school planner book. Santa Monica schools call it the
“Binder Reminder.” It’s an assignment book with a holograph of the
school on the cover, pages on which to write assignments, and daily
inspirational platitudes. The platitudes are stuff like, “Aim high,”
“Be a friend,” and “Follow your path.” I have been forced to buy these
stupid books from the school for each of my kids every year, but
Toshia and Thomas almost never write their assignments down. Every
year the “Binder Reminder” got more expensive, and filled with more
unnecessary stuff, too. The high school has gotten so bad that their
“Binder Reminder” has blanks for the student’s drug dealer’s phone
number. The school argues that it’s easier to teach responsibility
with something they like.
I just made one for Thomas. I bought a plain spiral notebook,
and wrote my own inspirational platitudes in it. I wrote,”Write your
assignments down,” and on one page I put, “Write your assignments
down,” and on the next page I wrote , “In the name of all that is good
on the fucking planet, write your assignments down.” Several pages in
I wrote, “Let’s kick it up a notch. How about, actually, do your

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