How I used pink wrapping paper to improve my son’s memory

My youngest son is 15, athletic and highly driven. He is also developing the need for a personal assistant to remind him about — or bring him — things he forgets on an almost-daily basis. When he texted me this morning asking if I could bring his baseball cap, which he needed in order to play in the game — and which he needed sometime in the next 20 minutes before the team bus left — I snapped my phone closed, sat back in my chair and exclaimed “I’m becoming Pepper Potts!”

Oddly, this did not raise a single eyebrow in our newsroom.

However, it made me realize I needed to do something to reverse this trend. Especially since I really don’t have the wardrobe or legs for it. My first instinct was to just let him leave without his hat and have him deal with the consequences. But knowing my son, he would just borrow someone else’s. Possibly someone with questionable hygene.

I decided to take a different approach to the problem. After texting him that I was on my way, I stopped by the house, grabbed his hat, and spent a few moments preparing it for delivery to the school office…

 Something I knew would make my high school freshman son feel "special."
Something I knew would make my high school freshman son feel “special.”

“Hi, I’m bringing my son his baseball hat,” I said to Hadley, the school office manager.

She eyed the package. “Is it his birthday?” she said after a pause.

“No. He forgot it. Again. So I thought I’d do something special.”

She looked at me and smiled with a mixture of deviance and reverence. “Would you prefer to have it delivered to him in class?”

“Oh, abso-lutely,” I said.

He’s just lucky he didn’t forget his jockstrap…



(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)


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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

51 thoughts on “How I used pink wrapping paper to improve my son’s memory”

  1. See, mine would call my bluff and possibly do something with the ribbons and his hair.

    No matter, well-played 🙂

  2. Oh YES! I am so stealing your idea.
    Thank goodness my son has parents at his beckoned call (or is that beck and call?) to deliver every single item forgotten in a moment’s noticed. The latest was me adding money to online lunch account as I was boarding an airplane.

        1. As much as I want to pretend to be the “hardened” parent teaching his child a lesson, I know the guilt feeling all too well. My son went to an away basketball game a few months ago and didn’t ask for money. I found out later he didn’t eat when the team stopped at Subway on the way home. It still gives me a knot in my stomach. BAD PARENT!

          So yeah, I feel you 😉

          (And things are going really great here. Family is good and life is good. Plus I have wonderful blogger friends like you. Can’t ask for anything more 😉 I hope all is well in your corner of life as well, Michelle!)

  3. THAT is an awesome idea! My daughter is still very forgetful and I send her texts to make sure she pays her rent! Sheesh! (she 27!!!) I so wish I had thought of something like that when she was still in high school to make her think twice about forgetting something again because I was ALWAYS at her beckoned (or IS it beck and call)? Oh yeah.. she knows not to ever under estimate me!! ha ha ha! 🙂

  4. The things parents do! lol

    A couple years ago when it was time for my son to get “the talk” at school, given by none other than the superintendent, I informed him that he needed to hold all questions until he got home, and not utter a peep. I told him if I found out he said anything, I would be chaperoning every high school dance, in my old 80’s prom dress, and that I would do the sprinkler and embarrass the shit out of him. This threat worked.

    Little did he know I can’t fit my fat bottom in that dress anymore. 😉

  5. Delightful Ned = love it. Having had a teenage son, i can appreciate it all the more. It brought to mind an experiment that was done in England, Apparently young hooligans were occupying certain street corners and terrorizing the locals. No matter how often the police chased them away, they would return as soon as the police left. And they really couldn’t be charged for standing there. So the local town council installed protected speakers on the tops of the phone poles and played 50’s music that the older residents enjoyed and the youngsters hated. The street corners were vacated and everyone lived happily ever after. ha!

    It’s all a matter of getting in their heads and you did that with flair and panache sir.

  6. Oh to be a fly on the wall in his classroom when he received his beautifully wrapped in pretty pink paper baseball cap.

    I’d also love to know what had to say to you about!

    Very clever Ned!

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