Fortune cookie leads editor from realism to mysticism

I tend to pride myself on being a realist. I always look for the most logical explanation and tend to scoff at things as absurd as ghosts and hypnotists.

I’m a pretty tough customer when it comes to stuff like that.

But then I crack open a fortune cookie and everything changes.

When I get a fortune cookie, I push aside the image that comes to mind for most people: a factory assembly line in which each generic fortune is typed up systematically and then somehow inserted into the crunchy shell (I still have no idea how this is possible).

Instead, I conjure up a scenario of some ancient Asian oracle who is awakened from a thousand-year slumber just to deliver me my future destiny.

Some lackey is there to be witness to this prophetic moment and then runs home to record it and send it to the fortune cookie people.

Even if you don’t get quite the same image or place much stock in these fortunes at all, let’s be honest – the cookies themselves really don’t taste that great, and when you take a bite, shards of it fly everywhere.

It’s simply just not the greatest food item ever invented.

But when you factor in the idea that you’re getting your fortune told for dessert, things become a little more appealing.

There’s always a certain thrill that goes along with making your cookie selection, but being the first to pick is always a nerve-racking experience.

How do you know which one is the best? What if you could have gotten a good one but blew your golden opportunity?

But then again, going last isn’t much better. Your dinner companions may have snatched up the most favorable fortunes, leaving you with one that either leaves you mystified or terrified.

But would it really matter in the end? The predicament of the fortune cookie: is your fortune predetermined or is it free will? I don’t think we’ll ever know.

My most memorable fortune was one that left me completely baffled. I can still remember the exact words: “If angry, count to 10. If very angry, count to 20.” I didn’t see the point, but who am I to deny the ancient oracle?

Apparently I needed to start practicing some anger management tactics.

My most recent fortune is definitely one of the best ones I can remember in 20 years of fortune cookie consumption.

I even kept it because it was just that awesome. It’s so awesome I don’t know if I even want to divulge it; I wouldn’t want to jinx it. Or is that just with birthday wishes?

It says: “Your dearest dream is coming true,” and is even sandwiched in between two smiling emoticons. How can I not get excited about that?

I’m still waiting for this king of all fortunes to come true, though.

The fortune cookie oracle works in mysterious ways. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t start preparing now.

There are lots of things that need to be done to puppy-proof an apartment, after all.

CHRISTINE PEFFER

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