Monday, January 11, 2010

Dissecting the Fortune Cookie

I love Chinese food. Slide over the steam rice and the soy sauce and I’m one happy camper. The stuff is addictive, and you never really feel full until that special moment where the fork stops inches from your mouth as the stomach suddenly expands before contracting, forcing air through every orifice in ways that I won’t describe here.
And then, there is the fortune cookie.

Those little bite-sized wafers created during the time when Confucius had to deal with contracted stomach air, these dry little morsels signals the end of the meal with a personal message, lucky numbers, and teaching a few Chinese words you won’t ever use during a conversation.

- Chean ju yee. San yue. Shui-guo. Guo tie. Yan-hui. Tai yaon chu lai. Gui. Bu. Ke kou. Hun yao le mow. Hua-jia. Qian xi. Yi sheng. Tung chean -


- Please pay attention. March. Fruit. Pot sticker. Banquet. The sun comes out. Expensive. No. Delicious. Very polite painter. Dry cleaning. Doctor. Sympathize -

Yeah, I probably could come up with something if I add a few additional words...

- Please pay attention. In March we had a fruit and pot sticker banquet. Expensive? No. Delicious. I met a very polite painter but threw up on his dry cleaning. My doctor sympathized. -

But really, it’s the fortune that makes the cookie. For some strange reason, I save them. I’m hoping one day they’ll all come true, or won’t for the bad ones. Here’s my list of fortunes (my commentary is in the parentheses).
An unexpected bill or financial report will arrive today. (Oh crap!)

Ultimately, the world opens full of meaning before us. ( I sure hope so because this fortune has no meaning.)

Keep your feet on the ground and your thoughts at lofty heights. (Until you run into the tree because you weren’t paying attention to where you were walking.)

A big fortune will descend upon you this year. (I sure hope so because I’m getting a surprise bill today.)

Now is a great time to broaden your scope of influence. (So, I can charm those armored car guards to loan me a bag of money. YES!)

You’ll have all sorts of chances to make a happy encounter. (But it only takes one chance to make a complete ass out of yourself.)

It’s time for you to explore all those new interests. (Like writing fortunes for cookies?)

This is the month that ingenuity stands high on the list. (That’s good since I wouldn’t want it to lie short.)

You need to live authentically and you can’t ignore that. (This isn’t a fortune. This is a blunt statement. You guys are getting demanding)

Conscience is a man’s compass. (Not when they’re visiting a strip club. Believe me; something else is more than dictating their steps.)

Although it feels like a roller coaster now, life will calm down. (Bleeh! Sorry, I was too busy throwing up.)

Great things happen when men and mountains meet. (Only if you remember to tie the safety rope.)

Live out of your imagination instead of out of your memory. (Uh oh! This spells trouble for the Big “M.”)

Watch out for little problems that could get a lot bigger. (Tell me about it. I’m running out of things to say.)

If we are all worms, try to be a glow worm. (Except at night when near a hungry owl.)
Yeah, you try figuring some of these fortunes out. As for me, this post has made me hungry. Time to deal with some more hot air.


  1. Oh Michelle...I've never thought of saving the fortunes from my fortune cookies! Great idea.
    I'm with you, my friend...I love Chinese food. I also love Japanese food....but we don't eat at Japanese restaurants as much.
    I'm going to start saving my fortune cookies and think of Michelle when I do it!! Thank you so much for a terrific idea!!
    Many hugs to you, my friend.

  2. Ah, I love the fact that you collect fortune cookies. In fact I loved the list here; many of them made more sense than all the fortune cookies I ever got put together. I really enjoyed reading this, great post.;)

  3. Oh good .. I can admit this and not feel totally weird .. I save fortune cookie fortunes too!

  4. I have saved one fortune, and it's hanging on my refrigerator.

    "When the time comes, take the first one from the right."

    I figured that was such specific advice, I'd better not forget it :-)

  5. Love the fortunes and your commentary. Your posts always make me smile.

  6. Another great post, Michelle. Fortune cookies crack me up. So much optimism in a pessimistic world.

    Oh, and for the record, women are far worse at strip clubs than men (and just as driven by things other than their mind).

  7. i'll take buddha's delight with sechuan sauce please

  8. This one had me laughing out loud. Especially that bit about "I sure hope so because I’m getting a surprise bill today."


  9. Your local Chinese place(s) have fortunes that teach you Mandarin! Now I feel gyped. But not really, 'cause my fortunes have never been as strange as some of those.

  10. lol. i have a few of those fortune strips hanging around. i think one of the reason is its wrapped in food. and not only food, but desert food. its gotta be good, right?

    "what is temporary has to be temporary. Don't let it last longer than a year."

    lol. love it.

    now i'm hungry too!

  11. Hey Michelle, been meaning to get over here from Suldog's for ages now but shamefully this is my first visit. Jim alerted me to the fact that we both wrote about fortune cookies just a few days apart and I was floored! I mean how often does that topic come up right? Anyway, your writing is great, wry & dry just my kind of humor, and I'll definitely be back to read more! Glad to have finally made the jump :-) Oh & if you wanted to read my fortune post...


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