Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fortune telling. . . not what it used to be.


Have you gotten a fortune cookie lately?

If not, prepare for disappointment.

Judging by my experience as a woman devoted to take-out foods, the fortune-cookie people have gone soft on the future. No more "You will meet a tall, dark stranger with a bushel of money; be sure to befriend him." No more "Wealth is in your future" or "Good things are coming to you soon" or "Sing and rejoice, fortune is smiling on you." They're not about your fortunes at all!

Now it's all limp, squishy philosophy that could have come from a Self-improvement Step-a-day calendar: "You have a warm and generous nature," "The arts fill the soul with joy," "Integrity is more to be desired than gold," and "Business is full of uncomfortable decisions," and "You appreciate life."

Hey, if I wanted self-help advice, I'd talk to my relatives. I'm looking for the FUTURE here. And I'm getting nada. If I were of a more political and paranoid nature, I'd say we're being fed this stuff in order to demoralize us and prepare the way for a Chinese takeover of Nabisco. But since I'm NOT paranoid or delusional or any of the other stuff they say I should take medication for. . . I prefer to believe the cookie makers are just too cheap to employ good old fashioned psychics and telepaths the way they used to. And who suffers? We do. . . the almond cookie munching public.

What we need is a fortune cookie willing to tell it as it's going to be. We need Truth with a steady eye on the future: "Check your 401K; your broker just bought a new boat" and "Your mother-in-law will develop amnesia" and "You will slip and fall while on a tour of Trump Tower; contact a lawyer now" and "Future generations will write songs about you" and "That ugly painting you bought at the garage sale will turn out to be a Picasso" and "Your grandson will be President. Really. No kidding."

But I suppose truth does have it's down side. Who'd want to get a fortune cookie saying: "A dogpile will claim your favorite shoes" or "Your brother-in-law will never pay back the loan" or "Your car was assembled on a Monday; prepare for astronomical repair bills" or "Your editor will have a miracle pregnancy at age 50" or even "Congratulations. Your teenage daughter will soon present you with a grandchild." Talk about your mixed messages.

What do you think? Is it better to be forewarned and forearmed? Or to go forth into the future in blissful ignorance?

I confess, I have a fortune cookie fortune taped to the monitor in my office. I've gotten it at least four times and the fourth one I decided to take seriously and took it home to read and revere. It says: "Your past success will be overshadowed by your future success." I'm banking on that one, because it came from the old days when fortune cookies really foretold your fortunes.

What about you? Got a fortune cookie fortune you kept? In your wallet or tucked behind the driver's license in your billfold? Was it good luck? What did it say?

And what "fortune" would you LOVE to get and BELIEVE?

19 comments:

Samantha Hunter said...

Cool topic! Our cookies come with fortunes on one side and on the other they usually have lucky numbers that look like lottery drawings, or chinese words in translation. The fortunes are sometimes tradition, predicting something like "if you think you're happy now, just wait" I think was one I got a while ago, but more often than not they are like these little nuggets of sometimes questionable wisdom. Now and then you get a keeper -- I had one I really liked and put it on the fridge, but then it got wiped out by a dog tail, and I couldn't find it. I also can't remember what it said, LOL.

But now I want chinese food for dinner... the countertops and plumbing go in on Wed and Thurs, so maybe I'll juice the no cooking thing for one more day and do that... ;)

If I could have one that I would love to get and believe? Hmmm... how about... "If you trust in yourself, all things will happen just as you want them to..."

Sam

flip said...

I would love a fortune that tells me that I am going on foreign travels.

flip said...

I would love a fortune that tells me that I am going on foreign travels.

Debra Dixon said...

Betina! You are so right. The cookie fortunes suck lately. They haven't got the guts to call it like it is. :) I had to resort to reading tarot cards to get a fortune and then realized that tarot is more "therapy for one" rather than fortune telling!

Anonymous said...

I haven't gotten a good fortune in a long time in a fortune cookie. However, there is a fun game you can play when you get a fortune. Read your fortune and always add the statement...in bed. Even if the fortune sucks, you can get a laugh.

Liza

Betina Krahn said...

Samantha-- LOL about the dog tail! Flip, oh yeah, foreign travel. . . that would be one worth trying to believe in!
Deb, I read my horoscope every day-- same thing-- mostly therapy, especially since most of the time they talk about internal, emotional stuff. Why is everybody trying to be Dr. Phil all of a sudden?
And anonymous, I like your "make lemonade" view of things. A good laugh is worth a thousand prophetic words!

Samantha Hunter said...

Oh, I read tarot! Have for years. :)

I love my cards.

Sam

Helen Brenna said...

Way to call it like it is, Betina!

Fortunes are more bland than milk toast these days. I had a friend who once got one that said, "Help! I'm being held captive in a fortune cookie factory." LOL

My husband got one, on the night we got engaged, that said, "Wedding ring like tourniquet, cut off circulation." Ha! It's in our wedding album.

Fun topic!

Candace said...

I have a fortune strip I've carried in my wallet for so long I don't remember where I got it. It says, "Good things will come to you by mail."

Debra Dixon said...

Ooh, Samantha-- We're having more and more in common. :) Which decks do you have. I was a collector of decks for a while but now I'm just down to those I'll actually read with. I'm mostly a Rider-Waite symbology/classic depiction type gal. About the "heaviest" deck I have is Haindl deck.

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, that's hysterical, Helen. I can't believe your husband got that on your engagement night. I haven't saved a cookie fortune, nor do I generally read my horoscope anymore. But I do remember the fortunes we used to get at the bottom of the Bazooka Joe bubble gum cartoons. They were always advising to stay in school.

Samantha Hunter said...

Deb, email zooming your way...

Sam

Betina Krahn said...

Helen, what a hoot-- your husband's cookie that definitely belongs in the annals of romance!
Christie, I go through periods where I swear off all the "woo-woo" stuff. . . because, like now, they're always WRONG.

Maybe it's better for me not to know what's coming. Life has taught me that some is bad and some is good. Premature celebration seems to be in bad taste, and why would I want to fret about bad stuff I can't do anything about yet?

But still-- the cookie manufacturers ought to have the "cohones" to take a stand now and then!

Michele Hauf said...

Whenever the hubby and I eat at Chinese, we read our fortunes, give each other 'the look', then exchange fortunes. We always seem to get the fortune that the other should have gotten. Once we've exchanged, the fortunes fit just fine.

M

Betina Krahn said...

Interesting, Michele. Are you mirror images in other ways as well?

flip said...

Did anyone watch Psych on Friday. He was hired to be the astrologer for a local paper and he wrote his horoscopes with specific people in mind. It was very funny.

Betina Krahn said...

You know, Flip, I haven't caught that show-- I need to check it out. I've heard it's wonderful. Do they air it a second time during the week?

MsHellion said...

Actually I got one last night--and it says, "Remember this date three months from now. Good things are on the way."

So I kept that little puppy. Even if it's a piece of paper. Who knows? Maybe something really good WILL happen in three months. Now I just have to get cracking with some of my stuff to put some possibilities in motion. :)

Betina Krahn said...

Mshellion,you go, girl! That's the secret of success. . . being prepared when something/someone wonderful knocks. Or as a dear friend said to me: you have to DO something before God can bless your efforts! Same concept. "Get yer butt in gear and help something good happen!"