The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive

It had been a long day for Alice, what with the rescuing all of those kids from that burning orphanage, figuring out cold fusion once and for all, and dumping sacks of fresh, crisp $20 bills over various parts of the greater LA area from her private helicopter. Also, her hair looked great, and that shit takes work. Sure, her hair-brushing robot did most of it, but she still had to sit there.

As she rifled through her mail, tossing offers from Mensa, The MacArthur Genius Foundation, and The Pixies over her shoulder, an envelope caught her eye. It was beautifully embossed, sealed with wax, and even though the name and address was done by a laser printer, the font choice was impeccable. New Baskerville. The Mercedes of serifs. Clearly, whoever sent this had something beyond great taste. Whoever sent this was the embodiment of great taste.

As her wine-pouring robot and her letter-opening robot did their jobs to the fullest of their abilities, she wondered who this missive could be from. That one who got away that whirlwind summer in Luxembourg? That bewitching stranger with whom she spent a lifetime of contentment within the span of a few furtive glances during last year’s “Fix The Entire World” conference? That one bagger at Trader Joe’s who smelled like a crisp fall morning and was wearing a homemade Upset t-shirt?

In retrospect, she felt a little silly about thinking all of these things once her letter-opening robot handed her the professionally folded piece of stationary. Just from the weight of the paper, she could tell that it could have only emanated from one place. But she read the heading of the letter aloud to herself, because saying the words filled her with a special kind of joy.

“From the desk of Banjo L. Cagan, Chief Content Officer, The Yearbook Office.”

She was happy that he was finally using his title on his stationary. This would make it so much easier to prove he was under her employ when people were like, “THE Banjo L. Cagan works for you? Boo, you trippin’.”

But trippin’ she wasn’t. As she sat back in her tastefully appointed La-Z-Person recliner, she wondered to what she owed this more-than-pleasant surprise. After all, if there was anyone who could put her to shame in the business department, it was Banjo. A fact that he let her know from practically the first sentence.


I know it’s probably too familiar by half to use your initial to open a letter, but I’m on the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ set coaching Lucy on a particularly tough scene, and I couldn’t resist tying these two strands of my life together.

Thank heavens we’re done with the holiday season. I understand you worked directly with Santa this year to help optimize his workflow, and from my admittedly layman’s perspective, it looks like it went swimmingly. Please tell Nicholas I love my golden pillow. And don’t let him give you crap because you didn’t use the word ‘Saint,’ I’ve spent too many nights with that fellow in Monaco to call him that.

This has been the ‘catching-up’ portion of the letter, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Would that we could while the day away trading tales of good times gone by. But alas, the world has different plans us, due to the fact that we’re both just so, so great. Me especially. But also you. But especially me.

I kid. But I am pretty great.

I read your posting on our website this Monday past, and although I was just the teensiest bit cross that I didn’t get to read it in advance, I know I was difficult to reach on the ISS. So I will graciously, if not handsomely, reward you with one mulligan.

Naturally, the most important choice in life one can make is whether or not they will adopt a dog. So I understand your anxiety in the matter. With your permission, I’d like to ‘Banjsplain’ (droll, droll) why you needn't worry. And I thought the best way to do this was to offer up a sample schedule of my day. Or rather, one of my ‘off’ days, when I’m not consulting the President or in space.

This may look daunting at first, but it’s better to think of it as one massive undertaking, rather than an endless series of overwhelming tasks.

5-6am: Awake. Walk around the bed. (Naturally, my flatmates could choose to have me not share the bed with them, but as they learned tootsweet, that results in me standing by your door and singing a little song called, “WAAAH WAAAH COME ON, JERK LET ME IN IT’S COLD OUT HERE AND I THINK I SAW A MONSTER.”) Now while I’m walking around the bed, it’s possible that one might misinterpret this as needing to go “out.” This couldn’t be further from the truth, I’m merely taking a brief constitutional so I can better apply myself to the important work I have ahead.

6-9am: Sleep. Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “And those who share the bed with you get to go back to sleep as well.” A charming, attractive, but ultimately wrong assumption. I require that for these two hours, all involved parties watch me sleep. This is for a few reasons. 1. I’m just goddamned adorable. 2. I’m very, very good at sleeping, so observers should take that opportunity to pick up some tips for their own sleep-related activities. 3. SOMEBODY has to be on Monster Watch. Because those things are everywhere.

9-9:15am: Awake in earnest. Stretch. Shake. Lick various things. Stretch. Shake. Make sure no thing has gone unlicked. Yawn. Yawn. Stretch. One last lick. Yawn. Shake. Stare at people. Yawn. Consider going back to sleep. Go back to sleep for 34 seconds. SHAKE.

9:15am-9:45am: Breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day, and that’s why my owners take the time to start preparing it the night before. It is a simple, yet hearty affair, consisting of a light salad, a pasta course, a refreshing, palate-cleansing sorbet, caviar and toast points, braised short ribs with quail-egg topped polenta, and a mimosa. Prosecco, not champagne, should it please the court. As they say, ‘Champagne is germane, but Prosecco is perfetto.’

9:45-10:15am: A stroll about town. Now, at this point, we need to address the elephant in the room. Well, not the elephant, per se, but the person who follows the elephant with the shovel. As it goes with all of the earth’s creatures, I cannot take in without, ahem, giving back. It is unsavory, and dare I say, ungentlemanly, and yet these are the cards we have been dealt. My flatmates tell me they like to think of me running free and happy through a verdant field whilst picking up my unspeakable business, because, of course, the thought of me enjoying myself is enough to make even the most noxious of tasks seem like a hug from an old friend.

Also, I like to sniff things.

10:15am: Back to the house for frolicking, play, and japing about. Truly, this is why you have a dog! What joy we have, my flatmates and I, basking in each other’s company as I chew on a stick. What an unmitigated pleasure for them!

10:16am-1:00pm: Sleep. Not to be disturbed. Of course, it goes without saying that I will need to be watched. Adorable, monsters, etc.

1:00-2:00pm: Days Of Our Lives. I can’t believe Sami is leaving! Truly, Salem will never be the same!


4:30pm: Awake. Is it dinner yet?

4:45pm: Is it dinner yet?

5:00pm: Is it dinner yet?

5:15pm: Come on, yo.

5:25pm: Seriously.

5:29pm: AHEM.

5:30pm-6:00pm: Dinner. A lighter affair than breakfast, to be sure, in that the salad and caviar are deep-sixed, and replaced with an aperitif (I’m partial to Cynar), and a simple chicken mousse. Oh, and no quail egg on the polenta, but instead, a veal demi glace.

6:00-6:30pm: An evening jaunt about the neighborhood. Keep thinking of me prancing through that verdant field, yo, because I am feeling very generous in my ‘giving back.'

6:30-10:30pm: This is my “me time.” I might be sleeping, working on my memoirs, sleeping, responding to correspondence, sleeping, sleeping, thinking about eating, sleeping, catching up on the day’s events, sleeping, sniffing, scratching, licking, sleeping, sleeping or sleeping.

10:30pm: A quick visit to the outside world so that I may urinate upon it.

11:00pm: Now it is time to sleep in earnest. As you can see, my day is just packed, so a bit of a massage is appreciated so that I may let the stress of my very existence melt into my flatmates more than capable hands. Nothing special, just a quick 15 minutes per ear and paw, followed by an additional 15 on my shoulders.

12:45am: Wasn’t that fun? Now all that’s left is for me to hop in the bed, grow to 600 times my own size and weight, and somehow occupy every square inch available. My flatmates take turns standing guard, softly humming Feist’s “Mushaboom” over and over again whilst the other catches some sleep on the couch or whatever.

5:00am: Rinse! Repeat!

So as you can see, owning a dog is simple, really. So go forth and dog, my friend! Dog like the wind! Included is a signed and notarized permit, saying that I give you my blessing to adopt somewhere between 6-10 dogs to start. I have some friends from the country club who are looking for a permanent situation, and I would be happy to set up a meat and greet. That wasn’t a typo, bring steaks.

Yours Always,

Banjo L. Cagan, Dog

Alice smiled to herself, and handed the letter to her stationary re-folding robot.

She then went on Amazon, and bought herself the finest plush corgi their children’s department had to offer.