Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The cookies are mocking me


Before I say anything, let me just say that I don’t really believe in prognostication from a cookie. Yes, they’re fun, but they are, well, just that: fun.
Now having said that, I never put much stock in the fortunes that come out of a cookie (or any other source, remember those bubble gum wrappers with a little fortune on them, those were awesome) until a friend of mine told me about his father. His father had gone to the doctor in the morning and received some bad news: he had cancer and he wouldn’t live for another six months. His coworkers took him out to lunch that day at a favorite Chinese restaurant. At the end of the meal he got this fortune: You will live a long life. He did die of cancer—ten years later!
I’d never had a fortune cookie that was anything more than just fun until I was ready to quit being a grad student. I went through some hard times of basically pulling my hair out in frustration every day. Then I got a fortune that really summed it all up: Courage comes through suffering. Being a tried and tested coward I decided that fortune was complete and absolute bunk. I took another cookie. I mean really, if they don’t mean anything, then what’s wrong with a little do over? I guess it’s like when you weigh yourself, then, not liking the answer, you step back on the scale, giving it an opportunity to change its mind. Well, the cookies would not be dissuaded, the next fortune I got was also “Courage comes through suffering.”
I taped those to a computer to remind me that double dipping doesn’t change the scale’s opinion.
But lately, I think the fortune cookies might be mocking me. As everyone knows, I’m in the query process, and that means rejection letters. There’s no way around it, if you query, you get rejection, but as they say, it only takes one yes. I’m still hopeful. But after I got a rejection I got a fortune that nearly made me laugh lo mien noodles out my nose: Fame and Fortune Lie Ahead. (I’m even reproducing the capitalization. ) Wow, but then last night, (after collecting some more rejection) I got another great one: You will be confronted with unlimited opportunities. Maybe unlimited opportunities to eat too many cookies, cause I’m pretty sure I can count to some pretty high numbers. But what got me about that fortune was the wording. It didn’t say “You’ll find unlimited opportunities in life.” It didn’t say “Your opportunities will be limitless.” It said “You will be confronted with unlimited opportunities.”
Now maybe it’s just my overly sensitive I’ve-just-edited-for-word-choice eye, but the use of confronted has me a little leery. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if these cookies are setting me up to star in an after school special. I mean fame and fortune? How many times have celebrities said they loved the money, but the notoriety was a pain in the butt? And confronted? Like someone’s going to run up to me at the bus stop and say “Look, if you don’t choose the right path from this set of unlimited opportunities, the whole world will end in a flare of nuclear apocalypse.”
So, is it a promise, or a warning?
Oh, right, I don’t believe cookies can augur the future.

1 comment:

  1. My last conference took place in San Francisco during the Chinese New Year and at one of the meals, we all got fortune cookies. My fortune said, "Worship your agent." Ha! Turns out I actually found my agent at that conference. Who knew?

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