Friday, May 20, 2011

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Perhaps it has something to do with undiagnosed OCD or perhaps I have a touch of “hoarding behavior” but I collect Fortune Cookie Fortunes; not other peoples but my own. Over the years I have amassed a pretty decent collection. Some I like and some, I believe, were a little off center with the whole ‘forecasting’ thing. I find that the Cookie chooses the owner. A cookie passed to you by someone else at the table may have tarnished the message originally meant for YOU! After all, they touched it first - perhaps it's THEIR fortune? Then there is the consumption question, “Does the Fortune count if you don’t eat the cookie?” Who’s to say? I won’t even go into the additional; “In Bed” alternate Fortune Cookie ending. Clearly, the Fortune Cookie holds more mysteries than a slip of paper predicting the future.

You may ask, “So where did the Fortune Cookie come from?” and, I might add, Gentle Reader, that would be an excellent question. Wikipedia, my favorite second brain, says this, “A fortune cookie is a crisp cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and oil with a "fortune" wrapped inside. A "fortune" is a piece of paper with words of faux wisdom or a vague prophesy. The message inside may also include a Chinese phrase with translation or a list of lucky numbers used by some as lottery numbers, some of which have become actual winner numbers. Fortune cookies are often served as a dessert in Chinese restaurants in the United States and some other countries, but are absent in China. The exact provenance of fortune cookies is unclear, though various immigrant groups in California claim to have popularized them in the early 20th century, basing their recipe on a traditional Japanese cracker. Fortune cookies have been summarized as being "introduced by the Japanese, popularized by the Chinese, but ultimately they are consumed by Americans.”

So what we have here is a distinctly American phenomenon that dates back to the early 1900s. Still there is evidence to suggest that not all of the Fortunes are “faux wisdom or vague prophesy.” There are those moments when the Fortune Cookie transcends its original intent and, in the twinkling of an eye, a forecast is given – a Fortune revealed! I suppose, statistically speaking with, “approximately 3 billion fortune cookies made each year around the world, the vast majority of them used for consumption in the United States”; that a few of them would hit pretty close to the mark. It is in that vein that I share a few of my favorite Fortune Cookies. Perhaps you too save Fortunes for a rainy day?

- “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he gives up.”
- “A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works.”
- “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark.”
- “Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians.”
- “You will soon be receiving sound spoken advice. Listen!”
- “It is better to have a hen tomorrow than an egg today.”
- “Sometimes the wisest person is dressed in the rudest clothing.”
- “The only thing we know for sure about future developments is that they will develop.”
- “Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.”
- “Be prepared to modify you plan. It’ll be good for you!”

Now I ask you, Gentle Reader; are these vacant Fortunes chocked full of empty wisdom? I think not. Although these days I order the steamed vegetables & rice instead of the egg foo young & pork fried rice – I still save room for the Fortune Cookie.

“One can never be too sure.”

...Picture from 'Tumbler'.

No comments: