Month: May 2010

The Fortune Bowl

When I was young, Saturday morning was all about cartoons and cereal. I still watch cartoons, but they’re the kind that air late at night and seem to go better with a beer or soju than a bowl of milk and Cheerios.

This Saturday morning, however, I managed to keep the bowl in the mix as I drew the next fortune from my cache of paper slip wisdom.

I find this fortune to be timely with the summer vacation season upon us. But the way I read it, there could be a couple of interpretations.

Perhaps I’ll encounter romance in my travels if I hustle to pack my bags and split ASAP. Could the message be to find someone I wouldn’t mind having a fling with, talk them into hitting the highway, seas or air with me and we’ll find ourselves drunk with the freedom that comes from living untethered and succumb to our feelings that have been dormant for so long? Or maybe I’ll just drive to Memphis, drink whiskey sours on Beale Street until I stumble into a Harlequin convention downtown wearing fake plastic breasts I bought at A. Schwab.

I’ve been thinking of taking a trip to Wigwam Village. Maybe now’s the time. Cave City, Kentucky has a certain, unique romantic quality with its Mad Max meets Deliverance meets Route 66 charm. If there’s anybody that wants to join me, we can book separate wigwams and see how it goes.

No Fortunate Son

May 17, 2010

Director, Quality Control
Dah Sing Noodle Company
5430 E Ponce De Leon Ave
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

Dear Sir or Madam,

I wish to lodge a complaint in regards to a recent encounter with one of your products.

Outwardly, I could ask no more of an after dinner snack. The sugary shell, with its hint of lemon, possessed the perfect mix of crunch and compromise. The inevitable crumble moment was delayed until the cookie had made its way to my taste buds, rather than shattering when snapped to liberate the ribbon of wisdom inside.

Which brings me to my grievance: My fortune cookie was empty.

When I glimpsed no white paper corner through the crevice, I told myself that the fortune must have shifted and was lodged inside one of the hemispheres. I slowly cracked the cookie down the middle, only to find emptiness where there had once been promise.

I am certain I felt a hiccup in time and space when I realized the gravity of the moment. In all my years of dining at various establishments that offer such post meal meditations, I have never encountered a fortune cookie with no fortune. So reliable are these crisp capsules of insight that I’ve come to think of them as pieces of a fragmented life map.

“You will travel to faraway places.”

I went to Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia.

“Now is a good time to make a new friend.”

I asked my waitress out for drinks. And she went!

So, you can imagine my distress at finding no words of guidance. What did it mean? Had someone meticulously shimmied the fortune out of the cookie before it got to me? No, that didn’t make sense; it was sealed in plastic. Was the supply of fortunes being depleted? Could the world be on a fast track to delicious dessert wafers with no higher purpose? Was the lack of a message actually the message?

As you can see, this experience has been a great source of anxiety. While I hold out little hope for true resolve, I would ask that you do me the flavor, eh… favor of looking around your building for a rogue slip of paper. Perhaps it blew from whatever spot fortune meets cookie to a corner or beneath a table. It could be lodged in a printer or some other piece of equipment. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll find it lost somewhere with its silent words waiting to be spoken under the nervous breath of a diner whose cookie came up empty.


Chance Chambers

The Fortune Bowl

For some time now I’ve been collecting little paper slips of wisdom from fortune cookies that I get at Asian restaurants and placing them in a bowl in my living room. Some of them seem to resonate; others are random and at times baffling. But for some reason, I feel the need to keep them.

Perhaps there’s a plan stirring somewhere in in the speakeasy cellar rooms of my subconscious to one day string all the formerly sugar shell bound words together in an effort to create some sort of life map that will guide me to complete tranquility, insight and compassion. Or at least some really good dim sum.

So with that in mind, I’ve decided to share the fortunes I’ve collected so my friends can help me piece together my zen tapestry.

This first one is from Pei Wei and was added to the bowl just this week. The fortune on the front and the Chinese translation on the back struck me as interesting on both a personal level and in a broader sense considering the challenges faced by my second hometown since last week’s flooding.