Yesterday at work, I took a break with my coworker to have a snack. The night before, I had bought some fried rice at my neighborhood Chinese restaurant and hadn’t eaten the fortune cookies yet. So, because sharing is caring, I offered Sarah a cookie and took the other for myself.I’ve always loved reading the fortunes in cookies. Sometimes they are inspirational, sometimes they are funny, and sometimes they don’t make any sense at all. That is the fun of fortune cookies. They say complimentary things like “You are admired by everyone for your talent and ability,” philosophical things like “Alas! The onion you are eating is someone else’s water lily,” and ridiculous things like “You are not a ghost,” which is why I usually enjoy the end of a meal in a Chinese restaurant.
I got the worst fortune that I think I’ve ever heard of. Fortunes, even the enigmatic ones, are usually positive in some way and honestly, I’ve never heard of a negative fortune before. “You are ugly and will have bad luck” or “Everyone hates your guts” hardly inspire good digestion and encourage you to come back to the restaurant the fortune came from. While these are fictional examples, the following is what came out of my cookie yesterday, in all its bitter glory:
You will experience small success, especially in romance.”
At first glance, it doesn’t seem all that mean-spirited, but really, the fortune is a bit passive aggressive. Yes, I kid you not, a cookie actually told me that not only will I never be successful in my career, family relationships, and finances, but out of all of the portions of my life, I will have next to no success in romance. Thanks cookie, I hope you have an unfulfilling, less than average, lonely life too!
I really didn’t need a cookie to tell me that I have no prospects at the moment and haven’t had much luck with Cupid. Like most predictive statements, I have to take the cookie’s zinger with a grain of salt. After all, it’s a mass produced confection with a randomly placed piece of paper in it. One of the writers might have been having a bad day at the factory and his sour mood leaked into his work. It happens in every profession, so why not in the cookie making business? It is also stupid to take credence with the advice or insights of a cookie that other people have also received. But, being a person who believes that everything happens for a reason and that we are fated to meet people and do things that define our lives, I have to be upset with this fortune. What are the odds that out of all the Chinese cookie factories, the one with the negative fortune supplies Chef Chow’s House? What are the odds that that surly fortune cookie was the one that was given to me with my fried rice? And finally, why didn’t I choose the other of the two cookies when Sarah and I were eating our snack at work? Through some cosmic working, I ended up with that specific fortune. Why? Asian gods of chance and romance, why me?
I know I’m usually an optimistic person, but this fortune cookie really put me in a bad mood for the rest of the day. It took the wind out of my sails. In a juvenile way, I was actually mad at a cookie.
At the same time though, I think I was madder at the possible truth in what the cookie told me. What if I never do have success in romance? Am I destined to be alone for the rest of my life? I’ve never been the kind of woman who needs to be with a man to feel fulfilled or worthy of happiness, but facing the prospect of being unsuccessful in relationships upsets me. No one wants to be alone forever and everyone at least wants companionship and comfort that a romantic relationship provides.
I didn’t need a cookie to tell me, to remind me in fact, that I have no luck in the man department. The cookie was further demeaning me by reinforcing my bad luck so far at securing a date. The tiny piece of paper was like a slap in the face that startled me into reality. Yes, I am romantically challenged, stunted in my flirting skills, and awkward in social situations with men, but I didn’t really want a blatant assessment of my track record in this part of my life with my coffee at work.
Why cookie, why? You ruined my afternoon, my sunny disposition on the first day in about a month that it didn’t rain, my cheerful sugary bonding moment with a new coworker, and my outlook on the dating scene in Boston.
I know I have to just forget about the cookie, otherwise, the fortune will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, but doesn’t the tone of it just get you down?
I’ll keep looking out for Mr. Right, but I can’t help thinking about ye curséd cookie. I’ll have to proceed with caution the next time I order Chinese food and never again will I complain about a fortune as silly as “Next time you have the opportunity, go on a rollercoaster.”
On the positive side, at least I learned how to say “bus” in Chinese.