Sunday, November 29, 2009

What Constitutes a Fortune?

"Laughter shall fuel your spirit's engine."


I received this cookie insert prior to the Thanksgiving break. Note the use of "shall" - "Laughter shall fuel your spirit's engine." Does the inclusion of this one forward-seeming word make this cookie insert an actual fortune? My friend Nick counts any type of forward-looking statement that is a type of prediction as a fortune. This rule allows him to categorize a recent cookie insert as an actual fortune: "The best times of your life have not yet been lived." Under the same rule, however, the following cookie insert is not a fortune: "People are naturally attracted to you." (This is not to say that either of these is untrue; the distinction is between fortunes and not-a-fortunes.)


I tend to require the use of "will" (or "shall") - as in "you will _____" - in order to categorize a cookie insert as an actual fortune. Otherwise what I'm reading is most likely a proverb of some sort. What makes a cookie insert an actual fortune for you?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Forget to Vote...

Be sure to vote in the poll (located on the sidebar to your right) before a new one replaces it. Keep your eyes (and browsers) peeled for a new post coming soon!

UPDATE: Results of the first not-a-fortune.blogspot.com poll are in! 85% of respondents always read their cookie inserts (total of 14 votes). Thank you for participating in the first poll.

Friday, November 20, 2009

For the Man Who Makes Me Feel "Fortunate" Everyday

"If you put up with small annoyances, you will gain great results."


I have thoughtful, caring, loving, supportive parents. They are unfailingly kind - to my friends and loved ones (and snuggly puppies!) as well as to me. This post is dedicated to my father, who celebrated a birthday yesterday. He and my mother went out for Chinese food in honor of the occasion. My mother's cookie insert was decidedly not a fortune: "Do not let great ambitions overshadow small success." However, my father's cookie insert (reprinted above) did, in fact, include an actual fortune. Happy birthday to him! And yet, upon closer inspection, we see that his fortune was preceded by a caveat: "If you put up with small annoyances..." Eh, I suppose in this cookie insert market that's the best one can hope for, even on a birthday.


Happy birthday, Daddy, I love you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where Do I Store the Cookie Inserts?



You may wonder where I keep all of my fortunes and not-a-fortunes. Until recently, the many cookie inserts had found a home on my refrigerator, precariously secured by various magnets. I say "until recently" because one of my best friends and college suite-mates gave me the most thoughtful birthday gift: a lovely silver fortune cookie (pictured above) in which to keep my growing collection of (not-a-) fortunes. Thanks, Myrtle!*


*Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welome to Not-A-Fortune

Those who have eaten Chinese food with me (and those who have not, thanks to the virtues of social networking sites) know that I love fortune cookies. I don't always love the cookies themselves, however. What I do love are the little inserts inside the cookies - the fortunes. Growing up, my parents and I frequented a handful of Chinese restaurants. At the end of the meal, along with the bill, the server would deliver three fortune cookies. We would each take one, crack open the cookie, remove the insert, and take turns reading our fortunes aloud. This tradition has continued into my adulthood, both with my parents and now with my friends. One of my best friends has altered the tradition, incorporating her family's fortune cookie routine into mine: she takes all of the cookies from the table, gently mixes them in her hands, and then has everyone select his or her own cookie, thereby allowing each person to choose his or her fortune. I love the combination of randomness and deliberateness that this involves.


What I have come to notice over the past year or so is that very few cookies contain actual fortunes. Most offer what I like to call "not-a-fortunes." I save each and every cookie insert I receive, fortune or not, and I have taken to posting these statements on other online forums. A friend of mine recently suggested I start a blog, noting that I can't be the only person frustrated by the lack of true fortunes out there. And so here we are. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts, fortune cookie-related or not.