I have received the following messages in fortune cookies:
– “You have many good friends.”
– “You are a joyful person.”
– “Things are difficult for you.”
My issue here is that the above aren’t fortunes.  The first two are along the lines of a “Yay! You’re a good person” sentiment or some such nonsense, like “Congratulations for not sucking!”  The last one, on the other hand, is in the category of “life sucks doesn’t it,” which is generally true but also generally not something one wants reminding of right after one has consumed a vast quantity of Chinese food.  The first thought that comes to mind when I get a fortune like the last is “shit – does this portend indigestion?”  No one wants their food to hint that it may not intend on peaceful assimilation into one’s body.

Meanwhile, today my brother received the following fortune:
– “Any doubt you may have will be resolved early in the month.”
This does qualify as a fortune.  However, it’s a problematic fortune for a number of reasons.  Problem one is that it’s already the 11th*!, so it’s difficult say that it’s still ‘early in the month.’   Problem two revolves around the ‘doubt’ issue:  what qualifies as a doubt, exactly?  Is this “I doubt the existence of God”-level Doubt, or are we discussing something along the lines of “I doubt Glenn Beck has one sane thought in his head,” or is this* doubt something really tiny, like “I doubt Rock Band 3 will suck?”  Because one could doubt damn near anything on the planet, really, with magnitudes of doubt ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. 

 It seems crazy for a fortune cookie to promise that all doubts will come to an end, because that sounds suspiciously like “all questions will be answered,” which is a type of empty promise that makes me deeply uncomfortable.  Two things come to mind.  One, the fortune cookie in this case is trying to sell the receiver something, hoping that the receiver is the type of person who would feel better were all questions put to rest and everything made comfortably black and white (or the fortune cookie is trying to lead the poor receiver into joining a cult).  Two, the fortune cookie is actually warning the receiver of impending death, since that seems to be the only real way to silence forever the possibility of doubt.  Were the latter true, the fortune cookie (or its writer) is a jerk, because no one wants to hear bad news on that level.  From anyone.  Or anything.  Ever.  Especially from a fortune cookie.

In the future, I would prefer that fortune cookies stick with small, meaningless fortunes: “today you will find a penny on the sidewalk,” or “you will meet a person who is chewing gum.”   Something banal, something ordinary, but something to watch out for as a sort of game, a way to make the day interesting.  Dadaism in action, perhaps.  Anything that doesn’t make my overactive imagination wonder if the fortune I’ve just received is promising my imminent doom.

* I mis-typed the word ‘this’ at first – my fingers misspelled it as ‘shit.’  From my typo, I’ve realized some things: “this” is really a shit word and one that I overuse, and I probably overuse the word “shit” as well if my fingers were more ready to type that than they were “this.”  Moral of the story:  I’m apparently a pottymouth. (Or I have pottyfingers?)

** I also realize that it’s 9/11, and it feels awkward to reference the date in any way, shape or form without acknowledging what happened on that day.  At the same time, I don’t have anything to say, really.  No one needs me spouting something about “always remember,” because I’m suspect that everyone alive on that day and capable of forming any sort of conscious thought whatsoever will never forget, and may very well remember quite a bit more than they’d wish.  I’m also not going to spout patriotism, because jingoism always comes across as hollow to me.  So I hope everyone does whatever feels right to them individually to deal with the day and its memories however it feels appropriate.