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?


  1. I tend to agree with your friend's fortune definition / requirement ... any fore-telling of ones future ...

  2. All of this sounds good... I just like to read them. :)

  3. Because of my intense anal retentive personality (I own it now rather than deny it like I did in my 20s), I now try to take my fortunes with a grain of salt like I do horoscopes. If I actually read them with any hope of truth in forecasting my future, I know I would pschologically lead myself towards whatever the fortune foretold. It's a combination of my practical sense of self combined with I hate to say it but a tad bit of pessimism ... kind of "in my head" sort of thing. Does that make any sense at all?

  4. Ha! This one of my great pet-peeves. I require the use of "will" (not sure if I have ever encountered a "shall" but I suppose that would qualify).

    Anything else is most definitely not-a-fortune. I have taken to calling them "aphorism cookies". I'd say fewer than 10% are genuine fortune cookies.


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