Fed up with fortune cookies phoning it in

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, August 20, 2016

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Did you know that fortune cookies aren’t really Chinese at all?

Well, they aren’t. They’re an American invention passed off as a cultural staple, kind of like how we Texans think Tex Mex is actually Mexican food.

Racey Burden

Racey Burden

The fact that so many people think they are legitimately a Chinese dessert is my second biggest pet peeve concerning fortune cookies.

‘But Racey,’ you must be saying to yourself, ‘how can you have multiple fortune cookie-related pet peeves?’

The answer to that question is that I am a person who is easily irritated, but the question that actually should be burning you up inside is this: What is the worst sin common fortune cookies commit?

I’ll tell you. It’s that those little scraps of paper inside are never actually telling your fortune.

They’re almost always aphorisms. You know, like “Seek to highlight your natural charm” or “Take the advice of wise elders.” That’s not what I want when I think of fortune.

Predict my future you lazy cookie, don’t bother spitting out this self-help crap at me. There’s bookshelves of that stuff at Barnes and Noble, but when I’m sitting in a booth contemplating my sad life at Panda Express, I want to be told “You will soon come into a large fortune” not “Every struggle has merits.” The latter implies work. I don’t want to work; I want to know exactly what to expect from my future – good, bad, doesn’t matter, just take out the guesswork.

Clearly whoever is writing these fortunes needs some help (and I need to know how you put that job on a resum – writer of uninspiring observations? Bringer of false prophecy?)

So, here are my suggestions for fortunes I think could actually be of some use:

  • “Forgo all hopes of ever seeing a Chick-fil-a in your town. You will eat imitation Chinese forever.”
  • “Your boss will offer you a promotion but expect you to take less vacation time.”
  • “That casserole you forgot in the oven is going to burn down the house if you don’t go get it out soon.”
  • “Someone at your next extended family gathering will make an uncouth remark, and you will all stare at each other uncomfortably.”
  • “Your friend will tell you that you’re the prettier one, but they don’t actually believe that.”
  • “Trump will win Texas, but not by much.”
  • “He’ll never call you back. Seriously, girl, drop it.”
  • “This cookie is 100 useless calories.”

See? I just don’t think it’s that hard to come up with these things.

Do better, fortune cookie fortune makers.

Racey Burden is a Messenger reporter.

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