Fortune Cookie.

by M. Lizabeth Currain

I eat a lot of Chinese takeout. Not all at one sitting (although there have been those depressing occasions), but what seems to be almost weekly. The main reason; they put something in it, that makes me want to keep ordering it. I can’t seem to live without those delicious cheese wantons. I never even had cheese wantons until I came to New York. New York has a very different style of Chinese takeout than, Alaska (where I am from). Back home it’s not as greasy. Not as deliciously unhealthy (although the menu here says in bold: NO MSG!)–No calories or pounds of fat would be better, but I guess I’ll settle for the “NO MSG!”.

As for other more likely reasons as to why I eat Chinese food so alarmingly often is that the grocery store seems to be so far away! I mean both grocery stores are like 5 blocks away–and honestly, the last thing I want to do when I get home from my crap job is to make a delicious home cooked meal. It is far easier for me to text message my dear old dad requesting his credit card number, so that his beloved daughter can eat. I know that’s pathetic. But it makes him feel like he is helping. And who am I turn to down free food in these uncertain times?

I always order from the same place, even though the people that answer the phone sometimes yell at me if they can’t understand me. As with every Chinese restaurant, I always get a fortune cookie with my meal–sometimes I get three, probably because they think I am feeding a family–shows what they know. More often than not, the fortunes are crap. Complete crap. They aren’t even fortunes. They are, a lot of the time, bad advice written down on a small strip of paper crammed in a somewhat tasty cookie. And since I am a hoarder of many things, including small strips of paper, I can share with you the misery that are my fortune cookies.

1. “You’re transforming yourself into someone who is certain to succeed.” I don’t know who they thought this fortune cookie was going to, but they obviously wouldn’t have sent it to me if they did. The only thing I am transforming is that part of my resume where it says “Assistant Manager” when it should say “Sales Associate”.

2. “Your skill will accomplish what the force of many cannot” Really, fortune cookie? Really? What skill are we referring to? I don’t even know what this means. I want specifics.

3. “God of Fortune is beckoning you.” I must have not been paying attention when that was happening. Although, they didn’t say what type of fortune this God is in charge of. My guess, poor fortune. It would make the most sense.

4. “You form passionate relationships without compromising your independence.” This one I get. This is like the only fortune I have ever gotten, that really made sense at the time that I cracked open that cookie. They got one right this time. But it’s easy to not compromise your independence when they want nothing to do with you! Can I get a, what what?!?!

5. “Curiosity is life.” No shit, Sherlock. Curiosity also killed the cat. Curiosity is also to blame for long, painful, and uncomfortable conversations with weird and/or creepy people you meet in a bar or on a train.

6. “Success will not attack you. You must attack it.” Great, one more thing I have to be actively involved in achieving. Does sending out my falsified resume count as me “attacking success”?

7. “It’s time you asked that special someone out on a date.” Okay. I think if I am calling them “that special someone”, I am way past the point of having to ask them out on a date. Thanks for reminding me of how alone I am, fortune cookie. You’ll get yours, when I eat you.

8. “A way out of a financial mess is discovered as if by magic!” Kind of like a $700 billion bailout, right?! Right again cookie! I guess I should stop paying my credit card bills and wait for Harry Potter to come figure out a way to get me out this mess.

Another interesting thing about those fortune cookies, is that usually on the back of the fortune, they have a “learn Chinese” portion. Not only are they someone delicious, they are educational. However, I still can’t string together a sentence that makes any sense. The most I can say is, “zuò kè pián yì chéng zi.” Which I guess would mean, “be invited cheap orange.” Which probably won’t make me any friends.

Someday I hope to end my dependency on (delicious)foreign foods of the take-out variety. Until then, it’s all the cheese wantons I can stomach.