Tuesday, May 15, 2012

You Can't Force the Fortune

I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat for dinner tonight but I was hungry enough to know that I needed to make a decision quickly. Instinctively, my mind scrolled through the Chinese restaurants I would pass on my way home from work. Not craving a particular meal but knowing that my usual order at any of the three convenient places I identified would satisfy me, I went in search of a fortune cookie.

I imagined myself digging into a bowl of fortune cookies, selecting the perfect one, unwrapping it, and cracking open the cookie to reveal an insert whose message I would interpret as meaningful to my unique situation or circumstance. At about the same time I had that daydream I also had an intense craving for a baked potato. I skipped the Chinese food and, therefore, the fortune cookie. I couldn't force it. 

My abandoned search for a fortune cookie reminded me of this year's Chinese New Year, which was in January, and which Myrtle and I celebrated, but about which I never blogged.

We went to one of our favorite Austin Chinese restaurants, Chinatown on Mopac, determined to mark the occasion. It's been so long now that I can't be certain about our entrees but I think she ordered the duck. (I recall a conversation about whether or not this was in keeping with the New Year celebration.) After dinner, we opened our cookies.

Myrtle's insert:
"Listen carefully. An upcoming important message may be subtle."

My insert:
That's correct. My fortune cookie had no insert. A not-a-fortune indeed.

When the server returned, I asked him for another cookie. He brought over the entire tub of cookies:

I selected a new cookie.

That's right. No insert in that one, either, at which point Myrtle placed the cookie tub on our table.

I tried one last time:
"Listen carefully. An upcoming important message may be subtle."

If you think this is a second photograph of Myrtle's cookie insert, you are incorrect. It is my third attempt at a fortune. Myrtle and I received identical inserts. (And, not for nothing, but I think that decreases the subtlety of the message.)

You can't force the fortune, people.

1 comment:

  1. For about four years now intermittently, I have had some ideas about random things like making greeting cards of ill humor (super sarcastic) and making/devising fortunes with similar intent. The closest I got was making a kind of creative hand etched set of fortunes for my gf at the time, these were not rude or anything, actually the ones I gave to her were catered pretty specifically for her particular amusement and intrigue. More recently I seem to have a growing infatuation with the fortunes themselves. I just know I want to start collecting fortunes and put them in a special cookie jar I have, I only have four fortunes thus far, I could care less about the actual cookies but I plan to somehow acquire as many fortunes as I can. I do not really know why it is I want to do this, I just feel it is something I need to do. I emailed Peking noodle company this evening (inquiring about paper fortunes), as I do not feel it would be possible/reasonable for me just to buy bags and bags of cookies just for the fortunes (nor could I eat enough Chinese food to acquire), they must come from somewhere. I may end up using the fortunes in an elaborate art piece and/or mailing them to friends here and there. I do know I at least want to fill up the cookie jar (ironically I do not want the cookies just the fortunes), perhaps I am forcing the fortune but my last one said "Your place in life is in the driver's seat" and the one before "A little madness, a little kindness, makes for happiness"...lol Anyhow, I have been researching fortune cookies for a few hours now and I still cant find a place where I can outright purchase just a bag of fortunes, I am sure I could make some up, well I actually did come up with one tonight (more of a little saying than a fortune) "Humanity requires a renaissance, much struggle presupposes it"... This may sound funny and may defeat the purpose of chasing that cookie down but as an Artist I feel it is okay that I simply acquire the pieces of paper with the fortunes on put in the jar and somehow I will know when the time is right to use them in a project. Well, I happened across you website in the course of my travels tonight and I perused your wonderful blog and read some of your accounts. I believe I saw something about how a neighbor of your had given you a little book or something to collect and document the fortunes. I was wondering where the book came from originally and if the same company might sell me just the fortunes or know someone who would. I am in grad school right now working on an MPA/Nonprofit mgmt emphasis, I don't have alot of cash floating around but I can't imagine a bag of little fortunes being too outrageous. I am thinking I would fill the jar and maybe grab one out every so often then pass it on or use in a project etc. Well this comment is pretty lengthy, cool blog, I am glad someone has taken the time to put these little fortunes online and photograph them. If you happen to know of anyway I might acquire any fortunes new or used, I would greatly appreciate any info. I feel yours (fortunes) are of a different sort of value for you as you have been collecting and may like other aspects about the fortunes, while I may be of a similar sincerity, my usage would differ and requires possible bulk fortunes in shorter time frames. I love your site, I am going to go back to reading it. I can always use a good penpal, (letter writing vs. email etc.) feel free to contact me about anything fortune cookie related or otherwise.


    Thanks :)


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