This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is "fortune cookie." This one was challenging for me because I've only had one fortune in a cookie that I actually remember, even though I just had Chinese food last week. Here goes:
What you want in a fortune cookie and what you get in a fortune cookie are usually two different things. That is because most fortunes cookies involve what philosophers would call a category error. The error is that the pithy words on the strip of paper inside that strange little cookie almost never tell a fortune. Instead, they give advice or attempt some proverbial words of wisdom. Rare is the cookie that actually predicts your future. Not that I believe in that sort of thing, of course.
My most memorable “fortune” advised me to “make use of the most advanced technology available.” This came in a cookie that I got over fifteen years ago with my msg-laden lunch special at the Mandarin Restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, just down the street from MIT. They must have written fortunes especially for the MIT students who dominated their lunch clientele. This fortune cookie advice mystified me for a long time. But it all fell into place when I discovered that fortune cookies are actually incomplete sentences. In fact, what they leave out is key to unravelling their mysteries. Add “in bed” to just about any "fortune" and suddenly the most bewildering fortune cookie makes perfect sense. This doesn’t mean it becomes a fortune, but it certainly gains some credibility. “Make use of the most advanced technology available….in bed.” Ahhh. Now I get it.