An Open Letter to Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer

Dear Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer,

I have noticed a disturbing trend in fortune cookie fortunes: they suck. It's as if giving us some trite Confucian proverb and randomly generated lottery numbers is supposed to somehow appease us. Well, Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer, it doesn't. You have become lazy on us and we, The People, demand real fortunes again. According to the dictionary, a fortune is “a prediction of destiny.” Telling us what the best tonic is for a long day is not a fortune—it's advice and we don't want it. We want vague sentences predicting an event in the future that we can stretch to fit damn near any event in our life. It gives us something to discuss while we wait for our check. So quit being a useless clod and go play with your Ouija board, hold a séance, do your rain dance or whatever it is you do; just give us some genuine fortunes.

I went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant recently and took a poll of the fortunes that each person received from their delectable treat. Here are prime examples of some worthless fortune cookie fortunes you gave us:

  • “A quiet evening with friends is the best tonic for a long day.” The best tonic for a long day is vodka. Thanks for trying, Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer.
  • “Two small jumps are sometimes better than one big leap.” What clichéd drivel. A better fortune would be, “You are about to take a big leap, two small jumps may be better.” You see? A vague prediction and hackneyed advice at the same time. You can keep that one, Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer; I'm here to inspire you.
  • “The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.” The only sure thing about Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer is that he is an overpaid hack who copies pointless adages from quote books.
  • “Luck helps those who help themselves.” This was my fortune. Upon reading it, I immediately started doing my impression of Rod Tidwell doing his impression of Jerry Maguire saying, “Help me help you! Help me help you!” I don't know why; I guess it's because the word “help” is used twice in one sentence and it reminded me of that movie quote.
  • “Advancement will come with hard work.” Considering the competition, this one is actually not too bad. It at least attempts to portray some future event. It doesn't commit to saying that you will advance—just that you will advance with hard work. Sure it's common sense and still falls under the “Advice” category, but I'll give Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer a break here. This is a good start; we want to see more where this came from.



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  1. Interesting take. This nasty trend has happened so gradually that it has gone unnoticed to this wide-eyed travelor. Kudos. However, I did finally realize the cure for the crappy fortunes that Mr. fortune Cookie Writer has written. In the recent years, certain immature individuals (Security God and The Victim to name a few) have used a two word addition to the end of the "fortune/advice" to add a little spice to the after dinner conversation. Perhaps you have heard of it. Simply add the words "In Bed" to the end of any fortune and it will instantly bring a smile to your face. Perhaps this proverb was initiated by the one and only Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer. Go ahead, use it on the above, I will wait (I think it goes quite nicely with the second to last fortune.)

  2. Interesting. Personally I like adding "In Bed" to the last fortune. Perhaps I have underestimated Mr. Fortune Cookie Writer if this is indeed his initiative. Regardless, it's still advice and I want fortunes dammit!

  3. Myself and three co-workers order chinese food every Friday and the so called "fortunes" were all too good to not share with the world. Since I don't have my own blog, I choose yours. Sadly, the 7 viewers you have aren't exactly the word either, but this is the best I can do. Without further delay, here are the fortunes that were blessed upon us….. Mine: You are broad minded and socially active. "The Victim": Ignorance never settles a question. Co-worker 3: You will be a good comfort. Co-worker 4: You will travel to many places. Boss: You are loyal to your family. I have refrained from commenting on each seeing as you have a better grasp of the eloquence of the english language then I do. Have fun with these! (don't forget to add the infamous two words to the end of each!)

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