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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the weekend: Fortune cookies: what the hell?

Last night I was the recipient of the downright weirdest fortune out of a faux Chinese cookie ever: “Maybe you can go to the moon in the next century.” Or it might have been “Maybe you can live on the moon in the next century.” I thought I’d saved it, but now I can’t find it.

Anyway: Say what? “Maybe” I “can” visit the moon “in the next century”? Maybe I could spend all day trying to parse that and come up with the 187 ways it could be interpreted, but instead, I’ll just laugh at it.

Fortune cookies: what the hell? Do you eat them? Do you heed their wisdom? What’s the weirdest/funniest/most accurate fortune you’ve ever gotten from a cookie? Who writes these things (apart from Homer Simpson, I mean)? Discuss.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • RyanT

    Love fortune cookies! One time my friends and bought a bag of fortune cookies in Chinatown and then just ate them all while hanging out at the park. So random and yet so perfect.

    I love eating them with ice cream if there are any nearby.

    As for noteworthy fortunes I’ve received, I can’t think of a lot off the top of my head, but the one I would never forget is one that I got the weekend I was planning on coming out to my mom. It said, “You will find the strength to speak from the heart.” I still have it somewhere…

  • amanohyo

    At the bottom of a Danish cookie tin buried in the back of an unused nightstand in a bedroom far, far away, you will find an ancient wallet still carrying the faint odor of the 80’s denim that brushed it smooth. In the deepest pocket of that wallet is a half-disintegrated strip of paper, sun faded to the point of illegibility. It once read “Your fondest wish will come true.” It did.

  • MBI

    I’ve gotten the “moon colony” fortune more than once.

    My favorite fortune said “Your problem just got bigger. Think, what have you done?” I taped that one to my work computer.

    The next fortune I got after that one just said, “It is a nice day.” That one just made me feel worse, like my problem was so bad that the fortune just wanted to avoid the topic.

    Also, there was the one that said “Q: How to make a scrambled brain? A. Add television to a child.” Yup.

  • Mo

    “You like Chinese food.”

    Yes, actually, I do. ^.^

  • What’s the weirdest/funniest/most accurate fortune you’ve ever gotten from a cookie?

    From a Chinese restaurant in Denver: “You will be hungry again soon. Order takeout now.”

  • LaSargenta

    I, the person who is known to start conversations with people on busses and while shopping at Century 21 and in luggage claims, was at an oh-so-comfortable dinner with my ex and my son (who was the one who invited me) and got:

    You need to break out of your shell and talk with more people.

    Both my son and my ex burst out laughing so loudly the whole restaurant looked around. My ex said something about that being the whole reason I learn languages was to talk with strangers.

  • Drave

    Some of my favorite cookie fortunes I have received over the years:

    Do not put so much sugar in your coffee, or he will think you extravagant.

    Butterflies of golden delight dance upon you tonight.

    It’s better to the beak of a hen than the tail of an ox.

    You will inherit some money or a small piece of land.

    In related news, I’ve decided that the habit of adding “in bed” to the end of fortune cookies is not nearly as funny as adding “except in bed” to them.

  • AlsoKT

    “The person who removes a mountain can start the cleanup, too.”

    That’s a little rude, I thought. But so often true.

  • “This person’s love is just and true. You may depend upon it.”

    This is an old one that I keep in my wallet. So old that it doesn’t include a “learn to speak Chinese” vocabulary lesson or lottery numbers, and is badly type-set.

  • So I’m in a Chinese restaurant with a friend of mine. We get the cookies and she says she wants to play the “in bed” game. I asked that was, and she said it was adding “in bed” to the end of the fortune. I said, “No, I don’t want to play this game with you.”
    “Come on.”
    “Your b/f is a friend of mine and it would be weird.”
    “Don’t spoil the fun.”
    “okay.”

    My fortune: You’re about to have an exciting and wonderful time.
    Her fortune: You will gain great pleasure from submission.

    For better or for worse, I was a better fortune teller than the cookies; the rest of the evening did feel weird.

  • gensing

    I taped this one to my in-box on my desk many years ago:
    None of the secrets of success will work until you do.

  • LaSargenta

    Eww.

    …the rest of the evening did feel weird.

    I’ll bet it did!

  • funWithHeadlines

    I have one in front of me right now that I think is the best one I’ve ever read:

    You will read this and say “Geez! I could come up with better fortunes than that!”

  • @funWithHeadlines
    I just got that same one myself on Thursday night.

  • Bluejay

    I got one once that I wish I’d kept: “At last! FREE from that horrible fortune cookie!”

  • Brian

    When The Empire Strikes Back came out, Pauline Kael wrote in her review that Yoda “talks like a fortune cookie.”

    A couple of years ago, I received a fortune cookie that said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

    The circle is now complete.

  • I have to admit, I look forward to my little fortune cookie after a good does of MSG. LOL

    Being a real estate agent and being on the road a lot I have to admit I do have Chinese food quite often as a quick lunch and yes, I do still love and look forward to my little fortune cookie.

    Even since I was a little girl I have always enjoyed the much anticipated opening of that strange little crumpled up taco looking cookie, which as a little one I enjoyed the cookie itself and could care less about the fortune.

    Later on, I switched, I don’t eat the cookie, instead my children enjoy the cookie, I, however, enjoy the fortune. I don’t exactly know why, I just do. I also like looking at the back of the fortune for it gives me a word or phrase in English and tells us how to pronounce it in Chinese.

    Perhaps you will read this and say, ok this woman needs a life, but in my defense I can at least say I am woman enough to admit I am a bit strange and even at 42 still enjoy a good fortune cookie, as stupid as the fortune itself at times may be.

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